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IGHT AMD WRONG 







THEIR. RESULTS 



\aron Martin Crane 



SRLF 
URL 



5143474 



PREFACE 

SOME years ago this book was born into thought 
by the perception of its fundamental principle, and 
it has been growing ever since. During the inter- 
vening years this principle and its allied ideas have 
been presented more or less fully in the form of in- 
' dependent class lectures to many groups of persons. 
It is with hesitation that it is now offered to the 
public in its present form, because it is still growing; 
but having seen the great advantages which have 
come to many from the practice of its principles, 
there arose the earnest desire to extend the oppor- 
tunity for similar help to greater numbers. 

The first lesson to be learned in the school of life 

1 is to understand one's own personality or individu- 

( ality, so as to estimate it at its true value, and to 

be able to use it for good and to avoid using it for 

evil. A man should know all that can be known 

of the power which he is every day wielding simply 

by being what he is and by thinking, looking, speak- 

iii 



hr PREFACE 

ing, and acting as he does. It is one's duty to make < 
the most and the best of what is in him ; and he is I 
best equipped for this who knows himself most ' 
thoroughly. The object of this book is to aid toward 
the accomplishment of this end. 

There appear to be two influences in this world 
of ours, the good and the bad or the harmonious ' 
and the discordant, which permeate all mankind 
and shape and control all human actions. Wher- i. 
ever there are two, if one is removed, the other re- 
mains ; if the discordant is removed, the harmonious 
will be left. Good, the absolutely harmonious, ! 
must be the enduring and essential because it is 
from God. Then an important part of the work of 
every one is to remove the evil or discordant and 
thus uncover the good. This includes the whole 
scheme of reformation, improvement, and progress. 

Much of this book is devoted to external matters 
which man can detach from himself and throw 
away. By shaking out of his mind every cumber- 
ing thought of discord and error he may disclose to f 
view the real man in all the perfection which his 
Creator bestowed upon him, and thus rise to that 
divine height of purity and perfection which has 
heretofore been deemed inaccessible. 

There is another topic, higher and even more 



PREFACE 



attractive than this, which deals with the divine per- 
fection inherent in man and in all creation; this is 
to be the subject of another book which is planned 

to follow this one. 

AARON MARTIN CRANE. 



CONTENTS 



aurra 

I. INTRODUCTION I 

II. RELATION OF THINKING TO BODILY ACTION . 6 

III. INTENDED ACTIONS 15 

IV. ACTIONS NOT INTENDED 22 

V. A GENERAL PROPOSITION 33 

VI. As SEEN BY OTHERS 35 

VII. MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY . . 51 

VIII. INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL INCIDENTS ... 60 

IX. THE RULE 66 

X. DISCORDANT THOUGHTS . . . . . .78 

XI. HOW TO CONTROL THINKING .... 97 

XII. SUBSTITUTION . . . . . . . . 104 

XIII. IMMEDIATE ACTION in 

XIV. PERSISTENCE 115 

XV. Nor ALWAYS EASY 123 

XVI. EFFECT OF THE PHYSICAL ATTITUDE . . . 127 

XVII. ALL ONE'S OWN WORK 132 

XVIIL DESTRUCTION OF DISCORDANT THOUGHTS . .137 

XIX. SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 144 

XX. MORAL DISCRIMINATION 148 

XXI. A LITTLE ANALYSIS AND ITS APPLICATION . . 153 

XXII. HABIT 158 

XXIII. THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH . .163 

XXIV. RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES . . . .177 
XXV. THE WORRY HABIT 186 

vii 



Vlll 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTK* PAC 

XXVI. BUSINESS SUCCESS 196 

XXVII. UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 202 

XXVIII. IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING . . . 208 

XXIX. THREE NOTABLE EXAMPLES .... 216 

XXX. THE PENALTY FOR SIN 220 

XXXI. A STORY AND ITS LESSON .... 227 

XXXII. THE STORY OF A CONTRACT .... 236 

XXXIII. THE STORY OF A NOTE ..... 241 

XXXIV. A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES . . . 244 
XXXV. SENSITIVENESS 255 

XXXVI. SYMPATHY 264 

XXXVII. SUGGESTION 271 

XXXVIII. HYPNOTIC CONTROL 284 

XXXIX. ENVIRONMENT 291 

XL. EACH is RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF . . 301 

XLI. THOUGHT CONTROL is THE TRUE SELF-CONTROL 313 

XLII. MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF . . . 319 

XLIII. POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION .... 328 

XLIV. THE TEACHING OF JESUS 340 

XLV. A LAST WORD 360 



RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 
AND THEIR RESULTS 



INTRODUCTION 

NOTWITHSTANDING the immense amount of atten- 
tion which has been directed in a broad general way 
to mind and its action, and although the construc- 
tive and creative ability of mind through thinking 
has been so long and so universally acknowledged, 
yet we are just now beginning to recognize the 
close and direct personal relation which thinking 
bears to man. The limits of the power of mind 
have never been clearly perceived, but recognition 
of their extent continually enlarges as knowledge 
and understanding increase. 

The differences between ignorant and enlightened, 
between savage and civilized, between brute and 
man, are all due to mind and its action. All the 
multifarious customs and habits of mankind, 
whether simple or complex, though often attributed 
to other causes, are, from first to last, the direct 

i 



9 RIGHT AND WBONG THINKING 

I results of thinking. The unwritten history of the 
' evolution of clothing, from its rude beginnings in 
the far-distant and forgotten past through all the 
ages since man first inhabited the earth, though at 
first glance seemingly simple, yet, as a whole, is 
wonderfully complex and astonishing in its par- 
ticulars. Its story is only the story of the applica- 
tion of mind to the solution of a single one of the 
vast multitude of problems connected with human 
requirements. 

It is true that our factories and palaces, our 
temples and our homes, are built of earthly material, 
but mind directed their fashioning into the vast 
i multitude of forms, more or less beautiful, so lavishly 
displayed by architecture in city and country. The 
multitudinous products of constructive art which 
are scattered in lavish profusion over the whole 
earth are marvellous exhibitions of what mind has 
done; and these are being multiplied daily, 

All the mechanical triumphs of every age are 
products of mental effort. Without these man would 
be in the condition of the animals. It has been 
said that he owes his supremacy over the lower 
creatures to his ability to construct and use tools, 
but this also depends entirely on his superior ability 
to think. The steam engine is one of these tools; 



INTRODUCTION J 

and the story of its creation and of the vast amount oi 
mental effort which has contributed to its evolution 
can be written only in its larger parts because of 
the amount of time that has been expended upon it, 
the magnitude of the work; and the minuteness and 
complexity of its details. 

In the domain of the fine arts more than elsewhere 
the creations are intimately connected with mental 
action and are distinctly marked as products of 
mind. Music, vocal and instrumental, the single 
singer or the multitude in the chorus, the one instru- 
ment or the great orchestra, the country boy whistling 
among the woods and hills or the grand opera in 
magnificent halls music everywhere, in all its 
varieties and types, is a product of mental activity 
and is a most subtle as well as most powerful ex- 
pression of the mind of the composer. The dreams 
of the sculptor which have been revealed in marble, 
those of the painter in the figures on his canvas, the 
beautiful in all artistic creations or expressions, are 
the direct result of the finest thinking of the finest 
minds. What a world of them there is in existence ! 
Yet the crumbling ruins of the past point to greater 
worlds of them which have been destroyed by man 
and time. 

Even a yet more important product of mind is 



4 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

the literature of the world ; in quantity, overwhelm- 
ing; in variety, bewildering; in quality, whether 
ancient or modern, such as to excite the intensest 
wonder and admiration. There is no greater 
monument to the mind of man than the things 
which that mind has produced in science, philosophy, 
religion, and letters. This has grown like those 

v ancient monuments to which every passer-by added 
a stone, and it will continue to grow so long as the 
human race exists. 

Civilization with all that the word implies in 
every one of its unnumbered phases, its origin, 
continuance, progress, and present condition, is 

1 directly and exclusively a product of mind; and 
man owes to mind and its action all there is in the 
external world except the earth and its natural 
products. All religious, political, and social organ- 
[ isms have their root in mind, and they have assumed 
their present forms in consequence of the profound- 
est thinking of untold generations of men. To the 
same source man owes his own position, which is 
superior to all else on the earth and " only a little 
lower than the angels." 

Notwithstanding the recognition of all these facts, 
it has remained for the scientific men of the present 
day, through their own intellectual attainments and 



INTRODUCTION J 

I discoveries, to enlarge immensely upon this recogni- 
tion and to show the complete supremacy and uni- 
versality of mind in another domain. The horizon 
(f is rapidly widening in the direction of the mind's 
[ relation to man himself: and, as a result of the more 
recent discovery of facts, man is beholding undreamed- 
of possibilities which he may achieve through his 
! own mental control. From the vantage ground 
already gained, mental and moral possibilities are 
rising to view in the near distance beside which the 
attainments of this and all past ages shrink into 
insignificance. 

Only in these more recent years has it been clearly 
1 perceived that mind action is first in the order of 
\ occurrence, and that it is the absolute ruler of )) 
I man himself as well as of all these wonderful works 

which mind has created. Mind is the motor power 

i 
and governs everything, everywhere; but man can 

control mind, and therefore, by that control, he 
may be the imperious dictator of his mind's entire 
course, and, rising thence to the highest pinnacle 
of possibility, he may become the arbiter of destiny 
itself. 



B 

RELATION OF THINKING TO BODIL\ 
ACTION 

MIND is that j which thinks. Thinking is mind 
action. ThougHt is the result of mind action. 
This is a statement of! what mind does, but it is 
neither a description nor a definition of mind. We 
know about mind only through our consciousness 
of its action, but because of this consciousness we 
know what we mean when we speak of mind and 
say it is that which thinks. 1 

In seeking for the sources of activity we find that 
in ail human actions thinking is first in the order of 
occurrence ; that is, man does not act unless he has 
first thought. 

A word, even the most idle or habitual, noticed or 
unnoticed, must exist in the mind in the form of a 
thought before the vocal organs can utter it. Think- 
ing may precede utterance only by a space of time 

1 It may be well to note definitely that thinking is not itself a 
thing, but is only an action. Mind is the thing, just as the hand 
is the thing, and its motion is only its action 

6 



RELATION OF THINKING TO BODILY ACTION 7 

too short to be measured, nevertheless the thought 
of the word was in existence in the mind before the 
word could be spoken ; and the same is true of every 
other action. This statement is necessarily correct 
because an expression, whatever its form, is always 

| the utterance, or outward indication or manifestation, 
of some intention, emotion, thought, or feeling, and 
can never precede what it expresses; hence an act 

i never precedes nor outruns thinking, but must | 
, I always follow it. 

, The mechanic first plans, and then he constructs 

} in accordance with his thinking. The architect 
may find defects in what he has built and pull it 
down to build in accordance with another plan, but 
such incidents only afford added illustrations of the 
truth of the proposition. He had to think before he | 
built ; the destruction was the result of thinking that 

f followed the building ; it preceded the pulling down, 
and ether thinking preceded the rebuilding. " If 
there is one thing more than another which seems 
to the plain man self-evident, it is that his will counts 
for something in determining the course of events." 
j| But willing is the result of choosing, and both choos- t j | 
ing and willing are modes of thinking. 

This order of occurrence is fully illustrated in the 
simple act of lifting the hand. Contraction of the 



B RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

muscle causes the motion of the hand; an impulse 
from the nerve causes the contraction of the muscle; 
j some action in the brain sends the impulse along the 
nerve; thinking is the motive power, and without 
it there would not be any action of brain, nerve, or 
muscle. These are only parts of a machine; over 
\ \ them all is the power of mind without which the ( 
machine could not move; just as without the fire 
there could not be any steam in the boiler, and with- 
out the steam there could not be any motion of the 
piston, and without the motion of the piston the 
machinery of the factory could not move. 

Frequently something outside of the mind causes 
ihe mind to act; but had the mind not acted, there ! 
would have been no bodily action, or had the mind 
acted differently, the bodily action would have been 
different also. It was the mental act which caused I 
the bodily action and gave to it its peculiar char- 
acter. But the mind may act independently without 
any provocation or stimulation exterior to 'tself, and 
the motion of the body will occur just the same, 
showing that mind action alone is the essential in 
the process. 

If we grant all that may be claimed for the influ- 
ence of external things upon the mind, it still remains 
that the mind is the power behind all else in moving I 



RELATION OF THINKING TO BODILY ACTION Q 

the body and that without it there would not be any 

motion. Additional and final proof of the truth of 

this proposition is found in the fact that if we remove 

the mind, as in death, the body cannot move. The 

nerves, muscles, tendons, and bones are parts of the 

, machine wonderful though inert which the 

I mind uses. In itself alone no portion of this machine 

has any more power than a crowbar when it is not 

grasped by the hand of the laborer. 

" All acts are due to motive, and are the expression 
of design on the part of the actor. This is as true of 
the simplest as of the most complex actions of ani- 
mals, whether consciously or unconsciously per- 
formed. The action of the Amoeba in ingulfing a 
Diatom in its jelly, is as much designed as the f 
diplomacy of the statesman, or the investigation of 
the scientist." 1 But motive is a kind of thinking ^ 
or a state of mind, and thus this statement by Copej 
while it includes all the actions of the entire animal 
kingdom under one general proposition, declares 
that they are all due to mind and its action. 

The investigations of physiologists show how sur- 
passingly wonderful is the force of mind when acting 
in connection with motion of the hand, even when 

1 Cope, Origin of the Fittest, p. 440. The Amoeba is one ot the 
lowest forms of animal life. 



10 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

looked at from a material point of view. The fore- 
arm, considered mechanically, is a lever. The dis- 
tance to the fulcrum from the point where the powei 
is applied is, we may say, an inch. The distance 
from the fulcrum to the point where the weight lies 
in the hand is, say, fifteen inches. Then, in accord- 
ance with mechanical laws, the power put forth by 
the muscle to raise the weight must be fifteen times 
as much as the weight itself. An ordinarily strong 
man can raise a weight of fifty pounds. This means 
that the mind, acting through the muscle, in this 
instance exerts a force equal to fifteen times fifty, or 
seven hundred and fifty pounds. This is the force, 
represented in pounds, which the mind exerts in 
such a case. 

But this is not all. If this same muscle which has 
operated under the force of seven hundred and fifty 
pounds should be removed from the arm and one 
end of it should be supported from a beam, a weight 
of fifty pounds attached to the other end would tear 
it asunder. This shows that the mind not only 
exerts a force of seven hundred and fifty pounds in 1 
lifting the weight, but at the same time a nearly 
equal force in holding the muscle together. A 
similar condition exists in connection with every 
muscular movement of the body. 



RELATION OF THINKING TO BODILY ACTION II 

There is an intimate and most wonderful relation 
between mind action and the action of the brain and 
nerve tissues, and between the nerve tissues and the 
various bodily organs. This relationship is such 
that certain actions of the mind set the nerves and 
muscles into activity. No one knows how the mind 
affects the brain to control it, nor how the nerve 
affects the muscle either to contract or to relax it. 
No one knows what the medium is between the men- 
tal and physical systems, nor even whether there is 
a medium. We only know that after the mind acts 
in its appropriate way these other actions follow in a 
certain order. 

There is an extensive literature on this subject 
which sets forth many different theories and explana- 
tions. Some insist that no connection whatever 
exists between mind and matter, and therefore they 
claim that it is too much to say that these actions 
stand in the relationship toward each other of cause 
and effect; yet, practically, all admit that there will 
be no muscular or other bodily action if the mind 
does not act. This admission is sufficient because 
it sets forth exactly the condition tfhich exists in 
connection with other cases of acknowledged cause 
and consequence. Thus, astronomers say that the 
sun causes the revolution of the planetary bodies, 



12 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

but they have never been able really to show that any \ 
connection exists between the sun and those bodies, 
nor to give any satisfactory explanation of the phe- 
nomenon. 

Even if it be granted that the relationship is not 
that of cause and consequence, but merely uniform 
', sequence, the sequence follows substantially the same 
j form and order as cause and consequence. It makes 
small practical difference whether we call it a chain 
of sequences or a chain of causes and consequences. 
Therefore it is sufficient for the purpose of this dis- 
cussion to say that mental action is the cause of 
bodily actions for the reason that bodily actions 
always follow appropriate mental actions, and never 
occur without their initiative. 

It is universally admitted that the facts of sensa- 
tion prove the action of the body on the mind, and in 
like manner the facts of volition just as conclusively 
prove the action of the mind on the body. For in- 
stance, pain may be claimed to cause a movement of 
the body; but between the pain and the movement 
was the mind action perceiving the pain and direct- 
ing those bodily actions. With this direction and 
adaptation pain has nothing whatever to do. It 
may be said that man eats because he is hungry, 
and that in this he is governed by physical sensation; 



RELATION OF THINKING TO BODILY ACTION IJ 

yet the consciousness of that sensation is a mental 
act of perception without which he would not eat, 
nor would there follow any of those complicated 
actions connected with digestion and assimilation. 
Thus analyzed it appears that it is mind action which 
sets the whole train in motion. 

In the normal person the mental control of mus- 
cular action is wonderfully developed. The muscle 
moves in exact obedience to the mental command, 
as seen in the delicacy and accuracy as well as the 
strength and force of the movements. Note the 
forming of a letter with a pen on the written page, 
the strokes of the artist's brush upon his canvas, the 
exactness of touch of the musician's fingers upon 

f the keys when he produces the precise tone that is 
required for the expression of his music every- 
where that delicacy and exactness are desired in the 
muscle they are produced by the mental action. It is 
called the result of training the muscle; in fact, it is 

j training the muscle to obey the mind. It the mind < 
has such control over muscular action, why may not 
its control over the other functions of the body be 
equally influential? 

It may also be well to note right here a distinction 
that has often been overlooked. The movement of 
the arm is not the result of will power. A man may 



14 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

will his arm to move as much as he pleases, but 
unless the mind itself acts in a manner different 
from simply willing the arm to move unless the 
mind thinks something entirely distinct in character 
from the thought of willing the arm remains sta- 
tionary. Even if it should be contended that the 
motion of the arm is caused by will power, the fact 
still remains that will power is mind power because 
willing is a form of mental action and the result of 
choice, and choice _is itself a mental action; there- 
fore the general proposition that bodily action is the 
result of mental action is still correct. 

These facts, clearly recognizable by every one, 
prove that the mind Js not simply a group of physi- 
cal conditions and combinations in action, nor is it a 
product of them, but that it is something entirely I 
distinct from the physical system though acting on . 

11 ... i '^ 

it, controlling it, and conferring on it powers which, 
in itseif , it does not have ; and since every bodily action 
may be resolved into elements closely similar to these 
here considered, if not identical with them in char- 
acter and relationship, the proof becomes complete. 
That which thinks is the master power which moves, 
directs, controls. The combination of brain, nerves, 
muscles, ligaments, bones these constitute a most 
wonderful machine that the mind builds and uses. 



m 

INTENDED ACTIONS 

ALL bodily actions may be separated into two 
classes, those intended and those not interided. 

Thinking is the cause of all intended actions. 
The accuracy of this proposition is self-evident be- 
cause intending, purposing, proposing, or designing is 
in itself thinking, and this kind of thinking is always 
the cause of this class of actions. One intends to 
call on a friend. If he did not think about it, he 
could not go. Having thought about it, if that think- 
ing ceases, as, for instance, when he forgets, then 
going becomes impossible. This illustration, though 
simple, is conclusive of the truth of the proposition. 

That a man has forgotten some mental action or 
was not aware of it when it occurred is no proof 
that it did not take place. A vast number of actions 
are preceded by unrecognized thoughts, but this 
does not furnish any exception to the universal truth 
of the proposition. On the contrary, it serves to 
sustain its accuracy; whether recognized or not, 
the thought was there in the mind doing its work. 

5 



l6 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

A person is often able to recall unnoticed thinking 
of which he would never have become conscious had 
not some subsequent incident directed his attention 
to it. Who has not been so absorbed in a book that 
at the time he was not aware of a conversation going 
on in the room, or even of remarks addressed to him- 
self, yet afterward has distinctly remembered hearing 
them? Simple incidents like this show that thinking 
often occurs without conscious recognition of it by 
the thinker. Psychologists say that the amount of 
unrecognized thinking is vastly in excess of that 
which is recognized. 

The action of the skilled performer on the piano 
is an illustration of the way in which things that were 
at first the result of intended and clearly recognized 
thinking at last are done without any consciousness 
of that thinking. With the beginner every action is 
preceded by a fully recognized thought. The posi- 
tion at the piano, the poise of the shoulders and head, 
the control of the arms and hands, the action of the 
fingers, and just how they must be moved in each 
particular case for striking each key, and the force 
of each stroke all these are the subjects of con- 
scious thinking on the part of the student. Not a 
motion is made without previous thought, which in- 
cludes not only the thought to move but also how that 



INTENDED ACTIONS 17 

motion is to be accomplished. After long-continued 
repetition of the motions included in the first and 
simpler lesson, when each thought has, so to speak, 
worn its own peculiar channel into the brain and has 
become so familiar that consciousness of it has some- 
what waned, then a more difficult lesson is under- 
taken. The thinking which preceded the simpler 
actions gradually disappears, being displaced or 
submerged by the attention given to more difficult 
ones, until finally all conscious recognition of it 
ceases. With each step the thinking connected with 
the preceding practice drops gradually out of sight 
until at last the performer's conscious thought is all 
directed to expression. This requires careful atten- 
tion to each of the many difficult and more delicate 
peculiarities of every single motion which, in proper 
combination, express the soul of music. These 
motions are necessarily preceded by an immense 
host of unnoticed thoughts, because without them 
the performer would be motionless and the instru- 
ment dumb. 1 Each atep suggests to the mind the 

1 It is said that in rapid piano playing the finger makes twenty* 
four movements in a second and that each movement involves at 
least three muscular acts, making seventy-two of these lets in a 
second. It would be extremely interesting if one were able to 
compute in a similar manner the number of separate thoughts 
which preceded each muscular act. 



l8 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

jiext one to be taken, and thus the series moves in 
its accustomed order. Each motion is the result of 
unnoticed thinking which is as intentional in its 
character as it was when the beginner consciously 
and purposely initiated it. 

Baldwin records a remarkable instance of this 
kind of action: "The case is cited of a musician 
who was seized with an epileptic attack in the midst 
of an orchestral performance, and continued to play 
the measure quite correctly while in a state of ap- 
parently complete unconsciousness. This is only 
an exaggerated case of our conscious experience in 
walking, writing, etc. Just as a number of single 
experiences of movement become merged in a single 
idea of the whole, and the impulse to begin the com- 
bination is sufficient to secure the performance of 
all the details, so single nervous reactions become 
integrated in a compound reflex." * But the "im- 
pulse to begin" is itself mental action, and without 
it no step of the performa^e could be undertaken. 

This " impulse to begin " a certain piece of music 
which has been performed many times 'is followed, 
by the thinking which produces the first motion, and 
that by the thinking and consequent action of the 
second, and so on to the end. The habit of thinking 

1 Elements of Psychology, p. 40. 



INTENDED ACTIONS X 

a certain series of thoughts, each thought succeeding 
another in an invariable order, becomes so fully 
established by constant repetition that, once begun, 
they follow each other in their regular order without 
the conscious volition of the thinker. But if this j 
habit has not been fully established, or if it has F. 

I fallen into disuse from lack of practice, then diffi- 
culties arise and conscious thinking has to be called \ 

Jnto action. 

This tendency to do again what has often been \ 
done is clearly stated by Baldwin: "The thought 
of a movement has preceded and led to the move- 
ment so often, that there is a positive tendency, at 
the nerve centres, to the discharge of _the energy j | 
necessary to the accomplishment ofjfoejict along the ' ' 
proper courses." * 

The Italian psychologist, Mosso, has stated the 
case excellently. He says : " Every movement [in 
walking] is performed with difficulty; it is at first a 
^ask painfully learned; gradually it becomes less a 
matter of reflection; until at last one can scarcely 
call it voluntary. We may not call it automatic, 

because when the will to walk is wanting we do not 
move, but when we have once set out to walk or to 
make a journey, we may go on for a long time with- 

1 Elements of Psychology, p. J&. 



fO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

out reflecting in the least that we are walking. . . . 
Many have experienced such extreme fatigue that 
they have slept while walking. There are endless 
phenomena proving that movements that at first 
cost a great effort of the will, become at length 
so habitual that we perform them without being 
aware of it." * The " will to walk," which is 
thinking, sets in motion that series of mind actions 
which results in walking, and the mind goes on 
controlling and directing the machinery of the 
body without the thinker's active consciousness. 
Mosso's words here quoted would apply with equal 
exactness to any series of complicated actions. The 
writer does not consciously think how he shall form 
his letters and words as he traces them; his con- 
f scious thought is engaged with the idea he wishes to 
j express; but thoughts he is not aware of are con- 
tinuously directing the motions of the many muscles 
which move the pen aright. 

Lack of continuity of sense excitation has been 
recognized by most people. When the hand is 
placed in contact with any object, there is, through 
f the sense of touch, an immediate and definite con- 
i sciousness of certain conditions. If the hand re- 
mains in the same position, simply resting there 

Fear, p. 99. 



INTENDED ACTIONS <fl 

without effort, the consciousness of these conditions 
gradually disappears. Though the course of activity 
flows in the opposite direction, yet it is clearly recog- 
nized that the mind itself affects the physical activi- 
ties very much in the same way that the sense 
excitations affect the mind. In the sense excita- 
tions, continuous action results in their disappear- 
ance from the mental horizon. May not the ele- 
ments of consciousness which are aroused by mental 
action fade out of sight in a similar way though the 
mental activity be as constantly present as the physi- 
cal conditions under the hand? If so, this presents 
sufficient explanation of the disappearance^ from_ 
consciousness of those thoughts which have been 
made habitual by frequent repetition, and it also { 
explains many, if not all, of those actions which are * 
called reflex or automatic, 

All this shows that " the thought of a movement," 
or " the impulse to begin," which is the mental inten- 
tion to perform certain actions, is that which sets in 
motion th2 complicated machinery of the body, and 
its action could not occur without it. Therefore in 
every minute particular the proposition holds true 
that thinking, either noticed or unnoticed, is die cause 
of all intended action. 



IV 

ACTIONS NOT INTENDED 

Nor only does thinking precede all intended | 
human actions, but it also precedes all those which 1 1 
were not intended. 

A person does not often shed tears because he 
proposes to do so. Usually tears come unbidden; 
frequently after every possible effort has been made | 
to suppress them ; yet they flow because of thinking 
which preceded them. The explanation is simple. 
It is the office of the tear gland to furnish a fluid 
to moisten the eye. The same delicate and inti- | 
mate relation exists between the mental condition I 
of grief and the action of the tear gland that exists 
between other varieties of thinking and muscular 
action. When the mind is filled with thoughts of 
grief, increased activity in the tear gland follows, its 
fluid is produced in an unusual and excessive quan- 
tity, and the eyes overflow. Thoughts of grief 
acting upon the tear gland stimulate it to excessive 
action in just the same way that those thoughts 

22 



ACTIONS NOT INTENDED 23 

which constitute intention move the hand. The 
important fact in this connection is that although the 
weeping is not intended, it is caused by a particular 
mental action which precedes it. When the grief 
ceases, the excessive action of the tear gland sub- 
sides, the tears no longer flow, and the facial muscles 
return to their usual condition. 

Entirely different actions follow if the thinking is 
of a humorous, witty, or ludicrous character. A 
great many muscles all over the body, but particu- 
larly in the chest, throat, and face, are thrown 
into violent spasmodic activity which is uncontrol- 
lable if the thinking is intense. This is clearly the 
unintended effect of thinking, because it often 
occurs when the desire not to laugh is very strong, 
showing that in such cases intention plays only a 
subordinate part. The laughter does not cease 
until the thinking that produced it ceases, and it is 
renewed with the renewal of that thinking. It is 
clear that these muscles move in response to the 
action of the person's mind, though without his in- 
tention to move them. 

Every one is aware of many physical changes 
which are caused by changes in the mental condi- 
tions. The mental state of anger will make the 
heart beat more rapidly, send the blood rushing 



24 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

chrough the body with increased velocity, and 
flush or pale the face. Any sudden emotion of 
grief or pleasure, unexpected news, either good or bad, 
suspense or anticipation, waiting for news of some- 
thing impending, these and many other disturb 
ing_thoughts make the heart beat faster or slower, 
I or even stop it entirely, according to the character 
, of thejnental action. Thoughts of fear may cause 
a cold perspiration to break out over the whole 
body, send the blood away from its surface, or even 
cause such muscular tension or paralysis that severe j 
illness follows, and sometimes death. j 

The unnoticed glandular changes are very numer- 
ous. Propose some particularly appetizing food to 
a hungry person, and instantly, without the slightest 
intention, the thinking sets the salivary glands into | 
action. All the acts of digestion, assimilation, and 
general nutrition are of this kind. It has been 
shown conclusively that they are results of thinking, ! 
that they vary with the variations of the thinking, 
and that without it they do not occur; yet they are 
not intended, and we are not even aware of the 
existence of the larger part of them, nor of much 
of the thinking which produces them. 

Recent physiological experiments show distinctly 
just what might have been expected from the com- 



ACTIONS NOT INTENDED *5 

mon experiences of every one who has noticed the 
flow of saliva in response to his own thoughts. 
When food that he liked was offered to an animal, 
it caused not only an abundant flow of saliva, but 
of gastric juice as well, even though no food had 
entered the stomach. More than that, when the 
kind of food was recognized by the animal, the 
character of the secretion was adapted to it, so that j 
each variety provoked the secretion of a special 
kind of digestive fluid. The better the animal 
liked the food, the more copious was the quantity 
of those fluids which are necessary to digestion. 
It was not necessary that the animal should even 
see or smell the food. A purely mental condition 

I caused by suggestion or the association of acts was 
enough, and it was shown that pleasure itself set 
the physical actions into motion. On the contrary, 
when food which was objectionable to the animal |( 
entered the stomach, secretion of digestive fluid did 
not follow. When communication between the 
brain and the stomach had been cut off, so that the 
mind could not send messages to the stomach and 
its glands, not a drop of gastric juice was produced 

> even though the food which he liked had been shown 
to him or had been introduced into the stomach, thus 
showing that the presence of the food without any 



26 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

mental stimulus does not induce the actions attendant 
upon digestion and necessary to it. 1 Something 
more than mere mechanical contact was essential. 

These experiments show beyond question that 
digestion depends entirely upon some mental pro- 
cess. Similarly, all bodily actions depend upon 
thinking, whether that thinking is intended or not; 
and withou^^hinking, or when the thinking does not 
reach the organs which should act, as when the 1 
thought effect could not be communicated to the 
glands of the stomach, there is no bodily action. 

It must be remembered, however, that there 
may be, and often is, a longer or shorter series of 
unnoticed bodily or mental actions between the 
inciting thought and the result which has attracted 
attention. The observed condition may be at the 
end of the series and far removed from the thought 
that caused it. This intervention of unnoticed 
intermediary incidents renders it difficult, and some- 1 
times impossible, to discover the direct connection j 
between the final event and the thinking that pro- 
duced it. Inability to trace the connection between 
the observed consequence and its real cause does 
not destroy the truth of the original proposition that 
the cause existed in mental action. 

1 Dr. Romme, in La Rtvtu for August, 1902. 



ACTIONS NOT INTENDED \ 

Every sensitive person knows how the menta! 
; state induced by hearing bad news will sometimes 
i interfere seriously with the act of digestion. Per- 
haps the victim wakes the next morning with a 
violent headache. His physician tells him that it 

r 

' is due to a disordered stomach. The mental con- 
dition of the day before has been forgotten by one 
and is seldom heard of by the other, therefore both 
insist honestly enough that the headache was not 
caused by mental conditions. Yet he would not 
have had the headache if he had not indulged in 
that discordant thinking which disturbed the action 

of certain nerves; this disturbance interfered with 

! the normal action of the stomach, which in its turn 
affected the head. This is unintended bodily action 

! caused by thinking, and shows how easily some of 
the incidents are overlooked which connect the 
cause with the observed consequence. 

The necessity for the presence and action of 
mind is also seen in reflex actions and those which 
seem to be automatic. When the exterior or sur- 
face end of a nerve is excited, as by the prick of a 
pin, psychologists say that this creates an activity 
which extends along the fibres of the ingoing nerve 
either to some central ganglion or to the brain; 
that certain actions take place there, and then 



28 RIGHT AND W1ONG THINKING 

another impulse is sent thence along the outgoing ,. 
nerve to the appropriate muscle, producing in it ,' 
the requisite action. These actions at the nerve 
centre must be more or less complicated and of 
peculiar character. Something must decide what Ij 
physical action should follow the recognized external I * 
conditions, and then it must select from all the other 
outgoing nerves the special one which shall carry 
the message to the particular muscle which should 
act, and must thus direct and control the specific 
action which that muscle shall perform. This may 
be merely to remove the hand from the position it 
occupied when the finger was pricked, or it may be 
to double the fist and inflict a blow, or it may be to 
cause certain complicated actions which shall re- 
move the offending object to another place. This 
is more than mere mechanics. It is the action of h 
the master directing subordinates in accordance 
with the recognized requirements of the situation. 

Whether the person is aware of it or not, there 
must be mental consciousness or recognition of the 
conditions at the end of the disturbed ingoing 
nerve, because something decides what is the ap- 
propriate action, selects from many others the 
proper agents to accomplish it, and inspires the 
action in those agents. In every such case there 



ACTIONS NOT INTENDED 39 

' is selection or choice, and choice is itself a mental ! 
.- > " ' i 

action based on consciousness, which is also mental. 
f Discrimination must govern choice, and intelligence 
j must direct the proceedings. It is only mind that \ 
examines conditions, decides whether or not to act, 
selects from a number of possibilities, chooses the 
kind of action to be undertaken by some one Or 
many muscles, and sends forth its behest through 
the appropriate nerve to the right destination. 

In every case the muscular action is a manifesta- 
tion of more or less consciousness of surroundings, 
discrimination, choice, and judgment. What occurs 
' corresponds exactly to the mental recognition of 
the conditions. Because of repetition conscious 
thinking emerges less and less into view until it / 
becomes habitual, and finally it passes entirely out 
I of sight, and the action is called automatic or 
I mechanical A vast multitude of tendencies 
toward these actions are inherited from birth, but f 
their origin was in the thinking of generations of ' 
ancestors. 

Thinking which originates solely in the mind and 
has no connection with anything outside of it, may 
act upon the nerve tissues and originate brain, 
nerve, and muscle action, just the same as when 
there is some outside incident to suggest it> Bald- 



30 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

win says: "Suggestion by idea, or through con 
sciousness, must be recognized to be as fundamental 
a kind of motor stimulus as the direct excitation of 
a nerve organ. " * All the organs of the body are 
subject to stimulation by purely mental states; 
that is, a nerve stimulus may come from within in 
the form of a self-originating act of the mind. Not 
only this, but psychologists and physiologists say 
that these thought impulses may be made to change 
nerve tracks already formed and even to originate 
new ones and thus find outward expression in better 
forms of doing. Not only will the severed nerve 
reunite, but even when a piece of the nerve has 
been removed, each of the two ends will send out 
filaments toward the other until they are joined 
again, provided the distance is not too great. 

It may be urged that the purely involuntary 
muscles, so-called, act without previous thinking; 
but as already shown, a vast majority if not all of 
the reflex actions are clearly the results of intended 
actions which have been very often repeated. The 
distance from reflex action to what is known as 
involuntary action may be very short, and the divis- 
ion between them is never clearly defined so that 
it is often difficult if not impossible to decide which 

1 Mental Development of the Child and the Race, p. 104. 



ACTIONS NOT INTENDED 3! 

[ is to be called reflex and which involuntary. Some 
biologists, reasoning from the known to the un- 

( known, hold the opinion that all such actions are 
consequences of conscious thinking. Their reason- 
ing is all the more convincing when it is remembered 
(I that mind is Always attendant upon life, never 
being found separate from it, and that life is the 
. progenitor and creator of all life; for life has never 

I been_found without antecedent life- Then mind 
acting in conjunction with life must be the power / 
which sets the involuntary muscles into activity. 

The heart beats without our conscious attention, 
yet we know that its action is greatly influenced 
by mental conditions, such as anxiety, grief, fear, or i 
joy. Though we may not be able to discover any 
special action of the mind upon the heart to keep 

I 1 it going, yet when the mind is removed, as by death, 
: the heart ceases to act. This is true of all the so- 
called involuntary organs, and shows thai mind 
action of some sort is necessary to keep them in 
motion. We do not think for the purpose of making 
the heart beat, just as we do not think for the pur- 
pose of making the tears flow; but our thinking 

[} makes them flow and our thinking causes the heart 
to beat. In one case we are aware of the thinking, 
in the other we are not, just as the piano player is 



32 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

at one time aware of the thinking that moves his 
fingers and at another time is not. 

The physical body, separate from anything else, . 
is an inert material mass, incapable of originating 
any action; therefore all its action must be pro- 
duced by something other than itself. That which 
causes its action must be mind. 

The conclusion is unavoidable that thinking pre- 
cedes and causes all those actions which were not 
intended as well as those which were intended. 
Since these two classes include all human actions, 
it follows that thinking, or mind action, is always 
first in the order of occurrence and is related to the 
bodily actions as a cause is related to its consequence. 



A GENERAL PROPOSITION 

THINKING is the cause of all that a man is 'and 
of all 'that he does. Then, since it is mind that 
thinks, it follows that mind is antecedent to think- 
ing and to all that is caused by thinking; therefore 
mind is first. Mind stands as the cause behind all 
which thus far has been considered. This is not 
a new proposition; neither is there any mystery 
about it. It is within the comprehension of every 
one who has observed his own mental actions be- 
cause it is a part of his own experience, and he 
finds within himself the proof of the proposition. 

Up to this place the subject has been considered 

from an external point of view and the reasoning 

! has been inductive in its character. There is an- 

j other and larger method, the deductive, which 

results in the same conclusions, only it enlarges 

their scope and makes them universal in their 

applications. 

i God is the one infinite First Cause and, there- 
fore, the cause of all. As the one cause, or Creator, 

33 



34 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

He is the Creator of all. In one of the aspects in 
which He is recognized by man, God is Mind; 
therefore, in the largest and most inclusive possible 
application of the term, in the infinite whole as in 
each particular instance, mind and mind action is 
first in the order of occurrence because God is 
Mind and He is the first actor, and the originator 
of all that is. This is the statement of a universal 
proposition which includes all things that are. 

Mind is an essential of man's existence; and its 
action, which he perceives within himself and calls 
thinking, is the first of all his actions in the order 
of their occurrence, and the cause of all the others. 
In this there is somewhat of likeness to the Infinite; 
and, though man and his activities are only inci- 
dents in the midst of immensity, yet, in this respect 
at least, he is following one universal order in obe- 
dience to one central universal principle. Just as 
all that exists is the result of the action of the in- 
finite divine Mind, God, similarly all thai man does 
is the result of the action of man's own mind- 



VI 

AS SEEN BY OTHERS 

A WISE modern writer, following a declaration of 
Socrates, has said that we should never ask who 
are the advocates of any teaching, but only, is it 
true? A statement of philosophy or principle once 
made clear and understood is not strengthened by 
appeal to any authority. While all this is undeni- 
ably true, yet it is also true that the wisest of men 
feel added confidence in their opinions when they 
know that other wise men agree with them; hence 
any man may be excused if he feels more comfort- 
able when he finds that others, who have given the 
subject more careful and thorough investigation 
than he himself has been able to give it, unite in 
th<: declaration that mind action precedes bodily 
action as cause precedes consequence. 

President Hali, of Clark University, is reported 
as saying, before a session of the American Medico- 
Psychological Society in Boston, that "the relations 
between the body and the emotions are of the clos- 

35 



36 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

est," and "there can be no change of thought 
without a change of muscle." He also suggests 
the possibility that the right course in thinking 
might develop muscle as well as the right course of 
exercise. On Pres'dent Hall's basis, if the proper 
course of thinking is maintained the muscles will 
take care of themselves. 

Professor J. M. Baldwin, of Princeton, italicizing 
his statement, says: "Every state of consciousness 
tends to realize itself in an appropriate muscular 
movement." * 

Professor C. A. Strong, of Columbia University, 
says: "Recent psychologists tell us that all mental 
states are followed by bodily changes that all 
consciousness leads to action. This is true of 
desires, of emotions, of pleasures and pains, and 
even of such seemingly non-impulsive states as sen- 
sations and ideas. It is true, in a word, of the 
entire range of our mental life. The bodily effects 
in question are of course not limited to the volun- 
tary muscles, but consist in large part of less patent 
changes in the action of heart, lungs, stomach, and 
other viscera, in the caliber of blood-vessels and the 
secretion of glands." 2 

1 Elements of Psychology, p. 308. 
* Why the Mind has a Body, p. ao. 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 37 

Professor James, of Harvard University, says: 
'All mental states (no matter what their character 
as regards utility may be) are followed by bodily 
activity of some sort. They lead to inconspicuous 
changes in breathing, circulation, general muscular 
tension, and glandular or other visceral activity, 
even if they do not lead to conspicuous movements 
of the muscles of voluntary life. Not only certain 
particular states of mind, then (such as those called 
volitions, for example), but states of mind as such, 
all states of mind, even mere thoughts and feelings, J 
are motor in their consequences." 1 Language can- 
not be more positive or unequivocal, yet later he 
stated the case with equal clearness though perhaps 
in language a little less technical : 

"The fact is that there is no sort of consciousness 
whatever, be it sensation, feeling, or idea> which 
does not directly and of itself tend to discharge into -, 
some motor effect. The motor effect need not al- 
ways be an outward stroke of behavior. It may 
be only an alteration of the heart beats or breathing, \ 
or a modification of the distribution of the blood? 
such as blushing or turning pale ; or else a secretion 
of tears, or what not. But, in any case, it is there 
in some shape when any consciousness is there? |j 

1 Psychology, edition 1893, p. 5. The italics are his. 



38 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

and a belief as fundamental as any in modern 
psychology is the belief at last attained that con- 
scious processes of any sort, conscious processes 
merely as such, must pass over into motion, open or 
concealed." * 

Professor Ladd, of Yale, says: "Even the most 
purely vegetative of the bodily processes are de- 
pendent for their character upon antecedent states 
of mind." * 

Professor Munsterberg, of Harvard, said, in his 
Lowell Institute lectures, that the slightest thought 
influences the whole body; and, further: "There 
is never a particle of an idea in our mind which is 
not the starting-point for external discharge," or 
in less technical language, the starting-point for 
some bodily action. In illustration he said that 
thinking increases the activity of the minute per- 
spiration glands of the skin. This has been meas- 
ured so accurately by the proper apparatus that it 
is possible to determine the activity or intensity of 
a person's thinking by its effects upon those glands. 

Hudson says: "No scientist will deny the exist- 
ence within us of a central intelligence which con- 
trols the bodily functions, and through the sympa- 

> Talks to Teachers, p. 170. 

* Physiological Psychology t p. 75. 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 39 

thetic nervous system actuates the involuntary 
muscles, and keeps the bodily machinery in motion." * 

An eminent French psychologist has stated the 
conditions correctly regarding fear, and incidentally 
of other emotions as well, when he says: "If we are 
ignorant of danger, we do not fear it;" and this is 
a plain statement of the experience of every one. 
Fear, as all know, is a mental action or condition, / 
and therefore it follows that the acts caused by 
fear are the consequences of mental action. 

The whole is admirably stated in the declaration: 
"He (the psychologist) acknowledges, in response 
to a logical demand, that every single psychical 
(mental) fact has its physiological counterpart." * 
But this is no more than Professor James has said 
in his book, Talks to Teachers: "Mentality termi- 
nates naturally in outward conduct," and he might 
have added that this is unavoidable, for that idea 
is included in the preceding quotations from his 
pen. 

Following in the same direction, the great English 
naturalist, Romanes, says the fact of selective con- 
traction is the criterion of mind and the indication of 
consciousness, and he finds this fact of selective con- 

1 The Law of Mental Medicine, p. 33. 
* Psychology and Life, p. 42. 



40 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

traction in the lowest known creatures. 1 He says als<s 
that "all possible mental states have their signs." 1 
These signs must necessarily be those of external phy- 
sical conditions which result from mental states. 

President McCosh, of Princeton, says of emotion : 
"It begins with a mental act, and throughout is 
essentially an operation of the mind. Examine 
any case of emotion and you will always discover 
an idea as a substratum of the whole." 

Professor Mosso, the Italian psychologist already 
quoted, constructed an apparatus by which the body 
of a man could be balanced in a horizontal position. 
This was made so sensitive that it oscillated accord- 
ing to the rhythm of the respiration. He says: 
"If one speaks to a person while he is lying on the 
balance horizontally, in equilibrium and perfectly 
quiet, it inclines immediately toward the head. 
The legs become lighter and the head heavier. 
This phenomenon is constant, whatever pains the 
subject may take not to move, however he may 
endeavor not to alter his breathing, to suspend it 
temporarily, not to speak, to do nothing which may 
produce a more copious flow of blood to the brain." 

1 Quoted approvingly by Baldwin in Mental Development of 
Man, p. 210. 

* Quoted by Baldwin in Mental Drvtlopment of Man, p. 222. 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 41 

He says of the same experiment when the subject 
was sleeping: "Scarcely had some one about to 
enter touched the handle of the door, than the bal- 
ance inclined toward the head, remaining immovable 
in this position for five or six or even ten minutes, 
according to the disturbance produced in the sleep. 
. . . When all was quiet, one of us would inten- 
tionally make a slight noise by coughing, scraping 
a foot on the ground, or moving a chair, and at once 
the balance inclined again toward the head, re- 
maining immovable for four or five minutes, without 
the subject's noticing anything or waking. ... It 
was proved by my balance that, at the slightest 
emotion, the blood rushes to the head." * 

These experiments show beyond question that the 
slightest possible mental activity changes the course 
of the blood and sends it to the head in such quanti- 
ties as to destroy the equilibrium and to overweight 
that end of the body. They show also how the 
slightest thought has its physical effect, and, as in 
the case of the sleeping man, that the thought 
which is not perceived and does not awaken him 
is as certain to affect his condition as the one of 
which he is conscious. 

Dr. William G. Anderson, director of the Yale 

1 Fear, p. 97 and following. 



42 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

gymnasium, has made similar observations upon 
the athletes of that University with like results. A 
man perfectly balanced on the table would find his 
feet sinking if he went through mental leg gymnastic^ 
thinking about moving his legs without making 
the movements. This shows that it is thinking 
which sends the blood to the legs even when they 
are entirely at rest. He balanced students before 
and after their written examinations, and after the 
mental test found that the centre of gravity had 
changed toward the head, varying in different 
cases from only a sixteenth of an inch to almost two 
and a half inches. 

Dr. Anderson says: "Experiments comparing 
agreeable exercises with those that are not so agree- 
able showed that movements in which men took 
pleasure set in motion a richer supply of blood than 
did those which were not to their liking. . . . 
Pleasurable thoughts send blood to the brain; dis- 
I agreeable ones drive it away." Not merely the 
If | thinking but its character or quality influences the 
physical actions, and the old poet was right when he 
wrote: "In whate'er you sweat indulge your taste." 
r The stigmata are among the most extreme ex- 
amples of the action of thinking in producing ab- 
normal physical conditions. St. Francis of Assis? 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 43 

furnishes the earliest historical case. His contem- 
plation of the wounds of Jesus was of such an intense 
character and so long continued that his own body 

, finally presented appearances similar to the mental 
picture which he had so long entertained. Not \ 
only were there similar wounds in his hands, in his 
feet, and in his side, but the appearance of nails 

in the wounds was so realistic that after his death 
the attempt was made to draw them out, supposing 
them to be really nails. There have been something 
like ninety or a hundred well-authenticated cases 
of a similar character since the time of St. Francis. 
For a long while it was believed by many that these 
conditions were results of self-inflicted wounds or 
that the story of them was mere fabrication. Some 
were probably fraudulent, but others were so well 
authenticated as to remove all doubt. Parallel 
cases of physical effects due to mental suggestion 
are well known. Experiments are now often per- 
formed in psychological laboratories which, by 
means of mental action, produce appearances 
similar to the stigmata. 1 If abnormal physical 
conditions of such extreme character can be pro- 
duced by thinking, certainly healthy and normal 

1 Encyclopedia Britannica, subject* "Stigmata," and Stigm 



44 BIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

ones can be produced and maintained by the same 
means. 

Professor Elmer Gates, of the Laboratory of Psy- 
chology and Psychurgy, Washington, D.C., showed 
the same motor influence and effect cf mind 
action in an entirely different way. He plunged 
his arm into a jar filled with water up to the point 
of overflow. Keeping his position without moving, 
he directed his thinking to the arm, with the result 
that the blood entered the arm in such quantities 
as to enlarge it and cause the water in the jar to 
overflow. This is merely demonstrating by another 
method the same facts that were shown by Professor 
Mosso and Dr. Anderson. 

Professor Gates went even further than this. By 
directing his thoughts to his arm for a certain 
length of time each day for many days he permanently 
increased both its size and strength, and he in- 
structed others so that they could produce the same 
effect on various organs of the body, thus demon- 
strating the accuracy of President Hall's statement 
that muscle can be developed by a proper course || 
of thinking as well as by exercise. 

Professor Gates has shown the causative char- 
acter of thinking in a long series of most compre- 
hensive and convincing experiments. He found 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 45 

that change of the mental state changed the chem- 
ical character of the perspiration. When treated 
with the same chemical reagent, the perspiration 
of an angry man showed one color, that of a man 
in grief another, and so on through the long list 
of emotions, each mental state persistently exhib- 
iting its own peculiar result every time the experi- 
ment was repeated. These experiments show 
clearly, as indicated by Professor James's state- 
ments, that each kind of thinking, by causing 
changes in glandular or visceral activity, produced 
! different chemical substances which were being 
I thrown out of the system by the perspiration. 

When the breath of Professor Gates's subject 
was passed through a tube cooled with ice so as 
to condense its volatile constituents, a colorless 
liquid resulted. He kept the man breathing 
through the tube but made him angry, and five 
minutes afterward a sediment appeared in the 
tube, indicating the presence there of a new sub- 
stance which had been produced by the changed 
physical action caused by a change of the mental 
, condition. 1 Anger gave a brownish substance; 
sorrow, gray; remorse, pink; etc., showing, as 

1 This is distinctly a case where none of the actions were in- 
tended, and yet were clearly caused by thinking. 



46 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

in the experiments with the perspiration, that 
each kind of thinking had produced its own pecul- 
iar substance, which the system was trying to 
expel 

Professor Gates's conclusions are very defi- 
nite: "Every mental activity creates a definite 
chemical change and a definite anatomical struc- 
ture in the animal which exercises the mental 
activity." And again he says: "The mind of , 
the human organism can, by an effort of the will, ; 
properly directed, produce measurable changes , 
of the chemistry of the secretions and excretions." 
He also says: "If mind activities create chemical 
and anatomical changes in the cells and tissues 
of the animal body, it follows that all physiological 
processes of health or disease are psychologic 
processes and that the only way to inhibit, accel- 
erate, or change these processes is to resort to 
methods properly altering the psychologic, or 
mental, processes. " l That is, the most effective 
and best way to change these physical processes It 
is to change the thinking. And again he says: 
"All there is of health and disease is mind activ- 
ity." And once more: "If we can know how to 
regulate mind processes, then we can cure disease 

1 Medical Times, December, 1897. 



AS SEEN BY OTHERS 47 

all disease." 1 In another place he says: 
"Mind activity creates organic structure, and \ 
organisms are mind embodiments." 3 

In full accord with this is Professor Andrew 
Seth, of the chair of Logic and Metaphysics in the 
University of Edinburgh, who, at the close of a 
long argument showing the priority of mind, con- 
cludes: "But mechanism is thus, in every sense, 
posterior to intelligence and will; it is a means 
created and used by will. In a strict sense, will 
creates the reflex mechanism to which it afterwards 
deputes its functions." 3 But will is a mental f 
action or condition, therefore mind action is veri- 
tably first in the order of occurrence. 

Cope, in summing up his exhaustive arguments 
on the subject, clearly and concisely declares the 
priority of mind and its creative power in these 
words: "Structure is the effect of the control over 
matter exercised by rnind. " 4 A more definite 
statement is not possible ; all physical structure | / 
is created and determined by mind as its cause. 

Christison says: "It is a biologic axiom that 
function precedes organism; for while we may 

1 Medical Times, December, 1897. | 

New Crusade, October, 1897, P- &9- 

Man's Place in the Cosmos, p. 105. 

Origin of the Fittest, p. 232. 



48 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

also say that necessity develops function in much 
the same sense that we say that it is the mother 
of invention, it is evident that the use of means to 
a given end implies the preexistence of a specific 
potentiality, having a plan in the abstract, for only 
the preexisting can be the cause of a necessity. 
Thus it follows that something of a mind must exist 
before a brain can be formed. " l In other words, the 
necessity must be recognized before it can produce 
any action; but that recognition of necessity is the 
mental action which precedes all the other actions. 

The great Lamarck, the pioneer of Darwin, 
says: "It is not the organ, that is, the nature and 
form of the parts of the body, which have given 
origin to its habits and peculiar functions, but 
it is, on the contrary, its habits, its manner of life, 
and the circumstances in which individuals from 
which it came found themselves, which have, 
after a time, constituted the form of the body, 
the number and character of its organs, and the 
functions which it possesses." 

Cope says: "The general proposition that life 
has preceded organization in the order of time, 
may be regarded as established." In connec- 
tion with some consideration of "the law of use 

1 Brain in Relation to Mind, p. 13. 



and effort," he says that "animal structures have 
been produced, directly or indirectly, by animal 
movements," and that, "as animal movements 
are primitively determined by sensibility, or con- 
sciousness, consciousness has been and is one of 
the primary factors in the evolution of animal 
forms." He adds further on: "The origin of 
the acts is, however, believed to have been in con- 
sciousness. " l All this points to the one fact that 
mind was the originator of organic structure, 
because consciousness is an action of mind. 

Evans, discussing the initial activities, says the 
same thing: "In the germ of the animal body, 
as in the seed of the plant, there is the living idea j 
of the future organism. And that idea forms the 
body after the pattern of itself. It is function 
(or idea) that creates the appropriate organ, and 
not the organ that makes the function. For in- 
stance, the heart is made to beat, and this action 
commences before its tissues are formed, even when 
it is only a mass of protoplasmic jelly. So it is 
always the function, the idea, which creates its 
organic expression. Thus it is, and of necessity 
must be, in regard to the whole body. " * 

1 Origin of the Fittest, pp. 422-425. 
* Primitive Mind- Cure, p. 125. 



50 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

This array of authorities might be increased 
indefinitely. Enough have been quoted to show 
great unanimity of opinion on the fundamental 
proposition that thinking is first in the order of 
occurrence and that bodily actions follow thinking 
I as consequence follows cause. 



vn 

MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY 

MENTAL and physical actions, though abso- 
lutely distinct, are most intimately connected. 
As day and night are closely joined by the inter- 
mingled light and darkness of twilight, so are the 
mental and physical activities of human beings, 
yet they are as clearly distinguishable from each 
other as light from darkness. In this chapter 
they are represented as entirely separate for the 
purpose of attaining a clear understanding of their 
mutual relations. They always occur in the fol- 
lowing order : 

First. Mind action, or thinking, noticed or \ 
unnoticed, precedes all other action. 

Second. Mind action is always followed by ! 
physical or bodily action of some kind, whatever 
may be the explanation of the connection or 
relation between the two. 

Third. The mind perceives this resultant 
bodily action or condition. 1 

1 Professor Strong in his book, Why the Mind has a Body, p. jiSt 
says : " The sequences of physical events upon mental are as ani> 

5 



$2 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

Fourth. This second mental action unites 
with the first and already existent mental action 
or condition. The sum of both, in its turn, acts 
on the physical in the same way that the first did, 
and, by a force increased by the added impulse 
of the second, it increases, intensifies, or otherwise 
changes the resultant physical actions and conditions. 

That is to say, the person becomes aware of the 
changed physical condition consequent upon his 
first thinking, and the mental state thus produced 
is added to the one already in existence. Thus 
a new mental condition is set up composed of the 
original thought which produced the first bodily 
action and of the other thought which succeeded 
that bodily action. In their turn these two com- 
bined again act upon the body with the increased 
force of their combination. In this way the men- 
tal and physical actions follow one another until 
something occurs to arrest the progress or change 
the course of the mental action. 1 

form as those of mental events upon physical, volition being as 
regularly followed by movement as stimulus by sensation." 

1 An order of occurrence introducing other elements might be 
stated as follows: (i) mind, the thinker; (2) thinking, or mind 
action; (3) the thought or idea, the result of thinking; (4) choice, 
the result of combination and comparison of thoughts; (5) will, 
the determination to act; (6) action. But this analysis does not 
interfere with the above order nor weaken it. 



MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY 53 

It appears very clearly from the foregoing analy- 
sis that mental actions and conditions, in every 
case, precede and cause all bodily actions and 
conditions. It is not only mental action which 
originates bodily action in the first place, but it 
is mental action which afterward increases or 

. intensifies the bodily action; and it is through 

the mind's recognition of bodily conditions, and 

not otherwise, that the bodily actions become the 

occasion for further bodily changes. 

As has already been said, the mind may origi- 

1 nate thought within itself independent of any 

i suggestion from an external source, and it is there- 
fore correct to say that we often "feel" pure 

_thought; that is, we recognize the changed phys- 
ical conditions following that thinking which 
had no cause outside of the mind. 1 This is neces- 
barily the case because, as Professor James says, 

1 This mental consciousness of the new bodily conditions which 
have been caused by thinking constitutes what we call " feeling"; 
and a person speaks as accurately when he says, " I feel sad because 

| of the loss of a friend," as when he says, " I feel hurt because of a 
blow." In both cases the words are used to designate the mental 
consciousness of certain new physical conditions, and include in their 
meaning both the conditions and the consciousness of the changes. 

[ In one case it is thinking that has changed the bodily conditions; 
in the other it is thinking also, but we attribute the change to the 
blow. 



54 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

, "All mental states are followed by bodily activity 
I of some sort. " That it was thinking, even though 
unnoticed, which caused the feeling and its peculi- 
arities is shown by the fact that, if thoughts con- 
1 sciously in the mind are changed, the feelings will 
| change with the change of thought. It is think- 
ing alone which originates feeling and afterwards 
becomes aware of it. The mind even notes its 
own action as well as the actions of the vari- 
ous portions of the body and of external things; 
and each of these three may cause further action 
in the mind, to be followed by other and consequent 
action in the body. 

The originating mental action, the first in the 
series, being almost or quite instantaneous, is 
[ often entirely unnoticed by the thinker; but this 
failure to perceive it does not change the fact of 
its existence, nor prevent its legitimate result from 
taking place in the body. Because we are not 
always aware of the initial or originating action of 
the mind, and because of the consequent undue 
prominence which, for this reason, is usually given 
to those physical conditions which constitute the 
second action in the series, the erroneous opinion 
is entertained that physical action is sometimes 
an originating cause. It is true that bodily condi- 



MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY 55 

tions affect mental actions when the mind takes 
note of them, just the same as when the mind 
takes note of any action or condition external to 
the body; but we must not lose sight of the fact 
that if the mind does not take note of those bodily 
conditions, no further bodily changes will take 
place; besides, in every case the bodily con- 
dition, whether noted by the mind or not, is 
itself the result of some mental action which 
preceded it. 

This order of occurrence may be illustrated by 
the case of the man and the bear, (i) The man 
has, stored in his mind, certain ideas regarding 
the dangerous character of bears. (2) When he 
sees a wild bear in the woods, these ideas recur 
and thoughts of danger (fear) dominate, if they 
do not obliterate, all other thinking. (3) As a 
consequence of this course of thinking, and prob- 
ably without being conscious at the time of any 
mental action whatever, he decides instantly that 
the proper thing is to remove himself from the 
presence of the bear as soon as possible; (4) and 
therefore he runs. The running is a physical 
action resulting from the preceding and somewhat 
complicated mental actions. If he had not had 
those previous thoughts about the character of 



56 BIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

bears, or if he had not become aware of the pres- 
ence of the bear (and this is a mental action), he 
would not have run. That thinking which caused 
fear was a necessary precedent to the running. 
(5; As he runs, his mind notes the new bodily 
conditions attendant upon his running, and these, 
being discordant, increase the discordant thinking 
already in his mind. Although his running began 
because of his fear-thought, yet his running in- 
creases his fear and he is more scared because he 
runs. (6) The new mental condition of fright 
occasioned by his mental perception of the physi- 
cal action of running is added to the fear he had 
before, and a panic follows. (7) But when he 
perceives that he has put such a distance between 
himself and the bear that he is safe (here also is 
mental action resulting in the mental conclusion) 
this thought of safety takes the place of his former 
thoughts, (8) and he stops running. 

Or the condition might be worse; on becoming 
conscious of the nearness of the bear, and remem- 
bering the bad things he has believed about bears, 
his mental condition may be so intense as to induce 
paralysis and make it impossible for him to move. 
The intensity of his fear, increased by his recogni- 
tion of his inability to move, may cause all physical 



MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY 57 

action to cease. The man is thus frightened to 
death. Thinking killed him. 

Looking at the subject from the purely physical 
point of view, the physiologist tells us there are 
two kinds of nerve fibres, connected at their inner 
ends by ganglia, each kind having entirely differ- 
ent duties. Professor James sets this forth very 
definitely and clearly in his Introduction to Psy- 1 
chology, page 7, where he says: 

"Anatomically, therefore, the nervous system 
falls into three main divisions, comprising 

" (i) the fibres which carry the currents in; 

"(2) the organs of central redirection of them; 
and 

" (3) the fibres which carry them out. 

" Functionally, we have sensation, central reflection, ^ I ( 
and motion, to correspond to these anatomical 
divisions." 

The fibres which are included in Professor 
James's first division are those which bring to our 
consciousness the news from the outside world, 
as the prick of a pin, the feeling of the object on 
which the hand rests, the sound of the locomotive 
whistle, the sight of an animal, or any one of the 
numberless external things of which our senses 
tell us. The second division, or "organs of cen- 



58 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

tral redirection," i.e. the brain and ganglia, ol 
nerve centres, receive the news from without and 
change what might otherwise be mere unintelli- 
gent mechanical action into actions that can only 
be explained by the intervention of intelligence 
giving its orders for the various activities which 
are to take place. Every ganglion is an organ 
where mind comes in contact with materiality to 
control it or to be influenced by it, according to 
the mental discipline which the mind has received. 
This is the point where the mental appears to 
touch the material to control it. Lastly, the fibres 
of the third division carry the orders to those 
organs which are to act and, in compliance with 
mental direction, set up in them the requisite 
activity. 

Professor Ladd, of Yale, in the following tech- 
nical language, describes very accurately these 
actions and offices of the nerves in producing our 
awareness of external things and our succeeding 
physical actions: 

"To know that the mechanical or chemical 
action of stimuli on the end organs of sense starts 
a mysterious molecular commotion in the axis- 
cylinders of the centripetal nerves, and that this 
commotion propagates itself, as a process of an 



MUTUAL REACTIONS OF MIND AND BODY 59 

uncertain character, to the central nervous mass, \ 
and there, as a process yet more mysterious, lays 
the physical basis for a special forth- putting of the 
life of conscious sensation; ... to know these 
things, and the grounds on which they rest, is to 
be scientific as respects physiological and psycho- 
physical questions of the most important kind." 1 

1 Introduction to Philosophy, p. 60. 



vm 

INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL INCIDENTS 

THINKING is the initial act of all human actions, 
but external incidents in many cases precede think- 
ing and provoke it. Whenever the external sug- 
gestive incident is taken into consideration, the 
order of occurrence is as follows: 

First. The external incident presents itself. 

Second. This is followed by thinking of some 
kind. 

Third. Some bodily action takes place which 
is the result of that thinking. 

Fourth. Then occur the events which follow 
in their natural order. 

We see the incident, we think about it, we act; 
and then follow the events consequent on that 
action. The factor governing our action and 
deciding its character is the thinking and not the 
occurrence. It is an error to believe that the 
incident is the governing power. We fall into 
this error because we fail to note the part played 
by thinking. 

to 



INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL INCIDENTS 6l 

Suppose a frightened horse has escaped from 
his driver and is running toward a little child 
at play in the street. Several persons see the 
impending accident. One of these, with vivid im- 
agination, but not directing his mental actions at 
all, pictures to himself all the horrors that may 
happen and is paralyzed by fear. Another thinks 
only of himself and his own peril and stands still 
or removes himself beyond all possible danger. 
Yet another throws his arms about, gesticulating 
wildly, perhaps screams. All he does arises from 
his own mental distraction and adds to the con- 
fusion and consternation already in progress. 
Had another of those present been so absorbed 
in other affairs that he did not see the runaway 
horse, he would not have been disturbed by it, nor 
would he have taken any action in relation to it. 
Another, seeing exactly the same that the others 
see, is actuated by an entirely different line of 
thinking. "Quick as thought," he estimates the 
distance and speed of the horse, his own possi- 
ble speed and his distance from the child, decides 
there is a chance for successful action, springs 
to the rescue, and snatches the child from danger. 

In the illustration we have (i) the external sug- 
gestive incident of the runaway horse, (2) the 



6a RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

thinking of each person, and (3) his consequent 
bodily action. 

Although the action in each case was connected 
with the same incident, yet it took its essential 
character from the thinking and not from the 
incident. This is without exception. Between . 
the incident or suggestion and the action is always 
thinking. Without this thinking there could not 
be any action. Neither the incident nor any sug- 
gestion decides what the action shall be. The 
thinking does that. This is true of all bodily | 
actions whether great or small, important or 
trivial, observed or unobserved. 

In the case under consideration the actions of 
the persons who were present varied because their 1 
thinking varied; the initial difference was in their 
thinking. Each saw the same thing that the 
others saw, and if the incident had been the gov- 
erning and directing power, each would have done 
the same things that the others did. Had a multi- 
tude been present, there would have been as many 
kinds of action as there were kinds of thinking. 

Let two persons, walking in a pasture, come 
unexpectedly upon a group of cattle feeding. One 
of these persons has followed a course of think- 
ing which has made him a lover of animals, and 



INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL INCIDENTS 63 

he is pleased, interested, and views them with 
i delighted attention. The thinking of the other 
has been habitually turned in the opposite direc- 
tion. His thoughts about them have been those 
' of fear, and now these recur to his mind, and he 
is filled with alarm. The actions of the two per- 
sons are as different as their thinking. One / 
approaches the cattle with pleasure; the other 
flies from them in terror. He does not understand 
that his sense of danger is all because of his own 
thinking, but believes it is because of the cattle. 
If the cattle had been the real cause, the other 
person would have been as fearful as he was. In 
the same way we attribute the cause of our 
own faults to others \ when it is really within 
ourselves. 

An extreme illustration, but one which has 
occurred in actual life and which shows the extent 
to which the power of thought has been carried, 
is furnished by the inhabitants of India. The 
man-eating tiger is an object of the greatest terror 
to the majority of them, and they go to his jungle 
only in large numbers and with every kind of 
weapon at their command. On the other hand, 
the man, whose thinking relative to the tiger is of 
a contrary sort, goes into the jungle alone without 



64 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

any weapons and stays there unharmed. If those 
men who so fear the tiger would practise this man's 
course of thinking, they, too, would be in the 
same condition as he is and would be able to 
do the things which he does. A change of men's 
thinking would revolutionize the attitude of the 
race toward animals, and of animals toward the 
race. 

Herein is the reason why some people do with 
impunity what would be impossible for others to 
do, or what they would be greatly injured by do- 
ing. The difference is popularly attributed to 
temperament, physical conditions, constitutional 
characteristics, or some other personal peculiarity. 
It is really due to states of mind to thinking 
the thinking which each habitually does whether 
noticed or unnoticed; this is often the result of 
education or habit, and the right habit can be 
created by continuous right thinking. 

It does not need any further discussion to show 
that our feelings and emotions are not caused, 
as we ordinarily think, by something external to 
ourselves; they are caused by our own mental 
condition. If our thinking had been different, all 
our succeeding actions would have been different 
also. This has been recognized by the wise ones 



INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL INCIDENTS 



here and there all down the stream of time. Shake- 
speare says : 

" The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, 
But in ourselves, that we are underlings." 

I not in things outside of us, whether near or 

II remote, but in our own thinking, therefore in our- 
selves. More than seven hundred years ago good 
old St. Bernard said: "Nothing can work me dam- 
age except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry 
about with me and am a real sufferer but by my 
own fault." In the principles here set forth are 
both the confirmation and the explanation of his 
statement. The fault is solely in the thinking. 
We may change our thinking and thus change 
both our course and our conditions. 

The cause of danger from our emotions lies 
within ourselves ; it is useless to try to run away 
from it because we carry it with us as we run. 
The recluse carries within his own mind the cause 
of his difficulties, and this is why monasticism has 
always been a failure and always will be. It is 
not the temptation but the man's own thought 
in connection with it that ruins him. In every 
instance j it is not the external incident but the 
man's own thinking which directs, controls, and 
decides what his course shall be. 



IX 

THE RULE 

FOR the purposes of further discussion all think- 
ing may be divided into two classes, harmonious 
and discordant. 

"Each brings forth after its kind." This is the 
substance of a declaration contained in one of the 
oldest writings in the world, and is only another 
form for the philosophic proposition that the cause 
always exists in its consequence, which is exempli- 
fied as a fact wherever life and action have been 
observed. Then the character of the cause must 
determine the character of its consequence, and 
consequences must correspond to causes. Since 
thinking is the initial of all human action and is 
causative in its character, therefore right or harmo- 
nious thinking must produce right or harmonious 
conditions, and erroneous, evil, or discordant think- 
ing must produce erroneous, evil, or discordant 
conditions. Consequently, control of the thinking 
is of the very first importance because it is control 

66 



THE RULE 67 

of causes, and control of causes is control of the 
consequences which are to result from those causes. 

The farmer plants corn, and corn springs up and 
grows. The young of animals are of their own kind. 
Even in the doctrine of evolution, which might 
seem to furnish something different if not contrary, 
the same principle prevails, for evolutionists tell us 
that activity produces changes and conditions cor- 
responding to its own character. Exercise of 
strength in the arm produces more strength in the 
arm; exercise of skill in the fingers results in more 
skill in the fingers, and so on through the whole 
list. Mental training produces mental ability of 
the same kind as the training. Inactivity results 
in atrophy, while a new form of activity is held not 
only to develop increased activity of the organ used 
but even a new organ. 

This principle has long been recognized in a 
limited way, as seen in the old adage, "Laugh and 
grow fat," and in Shakespeare's "lean and hungry 
Cassius." With the same import he says : 

" To mourn a mischief that is past and gone 
Is the next way to draw new mischief on ; " 

but the conditions are even more positive, direct, 
and immediate than these statements indicate. 
In a very general way it is recognized that grief, 



68 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

fear, and anger shorten life, and that sometimes, 
when extreme in their intensity, they kill instantly; 
while contentment, peace, and satisfaction produce 
beneficial effects and tend directly and strongly to 
prolong life. Anxiety, doubt, and despair paralyze. 
Bitterness, greed, lust, jealousy, envy, and the like 
cause men to commit all kinds of wrongful and 
criminal acts, including even murder itself. 

Such thoughts stamp their baleful impress on form 
and feature, and when habitual or constant they 
leave their permanent disfigurement. "Even a 
momentary thought of anger, anxiety, avarice, lust, 
fear, or hate distorts the features, impairs respira- 
tion, retards or quickens the circulation of the blood, 
and alters its chemical composition." 1 These re- 
sults, the same in kind as the thinking that produces 
them, are too widely known and appreciated to need 
elaboration or comment. Good produces good; 
evil produces evil; and this always, without ex- 
ception. 

It is unfortunate that, until recently, the larger 
tendency has been to study the evil thoughts and 
their results more than the good ones; but the 
general proposition will not be disputed that good 
thoughts produce results the opposite of those pro- 

1 Tyner, The Living Christ, p. 194. 



THE RULE 69 

duced by the evil thoughts. "Love worketh no 
ill," is a truism in the negative form that no one is 
disposed to dispute, whatever one might be inclined 
to say of the same proposition in the affirmative 
form: "Love worketh only good." Similar things 
may be said of all good or harmonious thoughts. 

It is true that sometimes a result which is not good 
appears to have been caused by good thoughts. 
Especially is it so with good intentions. In all such 
cases, if the causes are accurately analyzed, it will 
be found that the evil came from some unobserved 
ill which was connected with the good. Thus, 
ignorance often results in erroneous judgment con- 
cerning the character of the object sought or the 
means employed. 

As to the effects of erroneous thought on the 
body, we have the authoritative utterances of ac- 
knowledged scientific observers. President Hall 
says: "The hair and beard grow slower, it has 
been proved by experiment, when a business man 
has been subjected to several months of anxiety. 
To be happy is essential. To be alive, and well, 
and contented is the end of life, the highest science 
and the purest religion." 

Professor Gates made some very interesting ex- 
periments in this direction. He provided a spring 



TO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

regulated to maintain an even degree of resistance, 
and so arranged as to register the number of times 
it had been pressed down. A man was required 
to make depressions of this spring with his finger 
until, from exhaustion, the finger refused to act. 
This was repeated until Gates was able to determine 
the average number of depressions which the man 
could make under ordinary circumstances before 
exhaustion occurred. Then, at different times after- 
ward, he was asked to think about some subject 
which would cause discordant thoughts, such as 
the saddest thing that ever happened to him, or the 
man he most hated, and on one occasion he was 
asked to read Dickens's story of the death of Little 
Nell. After much thinking on such a topic, so that 
his mind was filled with the thoughts which it sug- 
gested, he was required to depress the spring. The 
average number of depressions possible under such 
mental conditions was very much less than he had i 
previously made when his mind was in its usual 
condition. On the contrary, harmonious thoughts, I 
as of love, peace, or anything good, raised the num- 
ber of depressions above the average in a similar 
large proportion. A great number of experiments 
persistently showed similar results. 
All this seems very wonderful because of the 



THE RULE 71 

manner in which it is presented, but it is of the same 
character as indicated by the ordinary experience 
and observation of every one. There are multi- 
tudes of similar incidents in everyday life. Who 
has not noticed that far less physical or mental 
weariness or exhaustion follows an evening thor- 
oughly enjoyed, no matter how hard at work one 
may be, than follows the same length of time if 
engaged in some enforced or disagreeable occupa- 
tion? In one case the thinking is harmonious, and 
in the other it is discordant. 

In direct connection with this idea Professor 
James says: "I suspect that neither the nature 
nor the amount of our work is accountable for the 
frequency and severity of our break-downs, but 
that their cause lies rather in those absurd feelings 
of hurry and having no time, in that breathlessness 
and tension, that anxiety of feature and that solici- 
tude for results, that lack of inner harmony and 
ease, in short, by which with us the work is so apt 
to be accomplished." l The break-down does not 
come so much from the work as from the discordant 
thoughts attending it. Uncertainty, anxiety, worry, 
fear, break a man down, but he can endure an 
enormous amount of labor if, instead of these 

1 Talks to TtacJurs, p. 214. 




72 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

thoughts, his mind is filled with calmness, assurance, 
courage, and confidence. 

By an examination of its effects upon the system 
Professor Gates undertook to discover the character 
of those substances which he obtained by condensa- 
tion of the breath of his subjects. The brownish 
precipitate from the breath of angry persons when 
administered to either men or animals caused 
stimulation and excitement of the nerves. Another 

substance produced by another kind of discordant 

-.JP^*, 

thinking, when injected into the veins of a guinea- 
pig or a hen, killed it outright. He gives his con- 
clusions on this point with definiteness and preci- 
sion: "Every emotion of a false and disagreeable 
nature produces a poison hi the blood and cell 
tissues." He sums up his results in the statement: 
"My experiments show that irascible, malevolent, 
and depressing emotions generate in the system 
injurious compounds, some of which are extremely / 
poisonous; also that agreeable, happy emotions 
generate chemical compounds of nutritious value, 
which stimulate the cells to manufacture energy." l 
Only one specific case from ordinary life will be 
cited. It is chosen from a host of others because 
it is extreme as well as typical, and because its 

1 Tht Art of Mind Building, p. 4. 



THE RULE 73 

authenticity cannot be questioned. Many similar 
incidents are recorded in medical books. 

The mother was strong, healthy, vigorous, mus- 
cularly well developed, and not especially sensi- 
tive, nor nervously organized, but rather the con- 
trary. Her young babe was in perfect health. 
Something occurred which threw the mother into a 
fit of violent anger. Shortly afterward her infant 
was hungry, and she gave it her breast. The little 
one was soon after attacked with spasms and died 
in convulsions within a few hours. It is acknowl- 
edged by the highest authority that this was the 
direct result of the mother's anger. It does not 
need Professor Gates's experiments to show that 
she had poisoned her child. The mental state of 
anger produced an active poison which found its 
way to the mother's milk and killed the babe. In- 
cidents of a similar kind pointing to the same con- 
clusion, though differing in degree as the mental 
states varied, have long been matters of observation 
by medical authorities. 1 

1 At the Vermont State Agricultural Experimental Farm, similar 
conditions are shown to prevail among animals. The milk of a 
certain cow showed four hundred and eighty points with little va- 
riation for several successive days. The cow's udder was scratched 
with a pin, at which she was irritated and more or less frightened. 
In all other ways she was treated as nearly as possible just as she 



74 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

If discordant thoughts bring about such discordant 
results, harmonious thoughts must produce har- 
monious results of corresponding intensity. In- 
stances will be found in profusion if sought for. 
The only difficulty attending the search arises from 
the fact that people are usually trained to conceal 
their emotions by restraint of the outward expression. 

All this is not so very new as it may at first appear. 
We read in The Wisdom of Solomon: "By what 
things a man sinneth, by these he is punished," 
showing that at least a fragment of this thought 
was recognized by one of the old sages three thousand 
years ago. Not far from the same time, perhaps 
earlier, the dates are uncertain, one of the wise 
old Buddhists of India said: "All that we are is 
the result of what we have thought; it is founded 
on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts. 
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain 
follows him as the wheel follows the foot of him who 
draws the cart." 

Although this is very strong language, yet it is so 
reasonable that it should not create surprise. That 

had been on the preceding days. At the next milking her milk 
showed only four hundred points, a falling off of over seventeen 
per cent. Men should be kind to the animals under their care for 
economical reasons, if for no others; but what about the healthful 
quality of milk produced under disturbing conditions ? 



THE RULE 75 

the consequence partakes of the nature of its cause 
is a principle appearing in all experience. In each 
case the physical conditions are of the same kind as 
the mental states which caused them. Discordant 
thinking debilitates and poisons the system; har- 
monious thinking strengthens and nourishes it. 

On the moral plane the situation is even more 
obvious because that deals with actions which 
were intended. A man may be angry with his 
neighbor and hate him. This is a mental condition ; 
or, as McCosh would say, an emotion caused by a 
mental act. Its result is apparent to every observer 
in his treatment of the neighbor. His mental at- 
titude toward another person may be just the re- 
verse of this, and it results in another and a distinctly 
different kind of conduct. The mental condition 
of a person may make him covet strongly the prop- 
erty of some one else, and his judgment (which is 
the result of mental action) being unbalanced, he 
steals; while another man, with well-balanced 
judgment, and therefore thinking another kind of 
thoughts, obtains the article he desires by honest 
means. These contrary courses of action can only 
result from two kinds of thinking; and they are 
just as apparent in the highest actions in the moral 
scale as in the lowest 



76 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

After all has been said that can be, the whole 
may be summed up very briefly. Although they 
may follow one another very rapidly, yet two thoughts 
of opposite character cannot occupy the mind at 
the same time. Each kind of thinking produces 
results of exactly its own character. If one kind is 
excluded, the other will present itself. If a person 
would avoid discordant, physical, mental, or moral 
conditions, let him empty his mind of all discordant 
thoughts which create such conditions, fill it with 
harmonious ones, and cultivate them. Thinking 
is causative; if the discordant cause is excluded 
from the mind, its evil consequences will not be pro- 
duced. The rule for conduct necessitated by these 
propositions is most obvious and simple : 

CEASE THINKING DISCORDANT THOUGHTS. 

This rule is an expression of the principle of re- 
nunciation, a principle as old as the race; but it 
strikes at the root of all human actions instead of 
dealing with the topmost branches and leaves, as 
rules generally do; and it also avoids all possible 
interference of one person with another. Renun- 
ciation of evil, as expressed in numberless forms of 
"Thou shalt not," has been taught in one way or 



THE RULE 77 

another from the earliest times. The method of 
avoidance has always held a prominent place in 
ethical and moral teaching. The two contrary 
aphorisms, "Avoid the wrong" and "Do the right," 
are bound together by a principle too strong to be 
broken. Either includes the other, so that at last 
the two are only one, both in theory and in practice. 
The morality of avoidance of wrong and practice 
of right is so axiomatic that it instantly forces itself 
upon the conscience of every one who would become 
better himself, or who would aid others to become 
better. Compliance with this rule, which goes 
down into the deeps of man's nature and deals 
with the primal causes of all human actions, will 
easily and thoroughly accomplish all desirable re- 
sults. 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 

THE rule set forth in the last chapter is vital, 
for it strikes at the very root of all evil. How then 
may its requirements be complied with? The 
first step toward this object is to olecide what thoughts 
are discordant. 

The wonderful subtlety of these thoughts often 
hides their true character so that many persons who 
entertain them are not aware of their real nature. 
Some pay so little attention to the subject that dis- 
cord continually rules their minds. Besides, large 
classes of thoughts which are discordant are popu- 
larly held to be admirable and therefore are care- 
fully cultivated, and those who do not harbor them 
are censured. This does not change results. All 
such errors inevitably lead to greater confusion. 
The list of discordant thoughts is long, and if one 
sets about the work of their exclusion, he will be led 
into a recognition and understanding of their char- 
acter and quality 1 that will far surpass any verbal 

78 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 79 

explanation which it is possible to make ; yet defini- 
tions are of advantage, especially in the beginning. 

Of course anger, hate, greed, lust, envy, jealousy, 
and all malevolent thoughts are at once recognized 
as discordant. To these must be added grief and 
its attendants, regret and disappointment; fear, 
doubt, and uncertainty, with their sense of respon- 
sibility, anxiety, worry, and despair; and condem- 
nation of all kinds, including self-condemnation, | 
with its self-consciousness, self-abasement, shame, 
I and remorse. 

All sinful or erroneous thoughts are discordant | 
in their nature, and all discordant thoughts are 
erroneous, though, in the correct meaning of the 
word, not all discordant thoughts are sinful. 

One error seriously influencing our decisions 
regarding the character of our thinking arises from 
the fact that, by many, a lesser degree of discordant ; 
thinking is held to be different in character from its 

Smore extreme manifestation. The character of a men- 
tal condition does not change with any change in its 
,, intensity. An act remains the same in its character I 
and in the character of its consequences regardless 
of ignorance, misunderstanding, or any erroneous 
opinion about it or connected with it. Thinking 
which is held to be reprehensible if intense has the 



80 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

same character in its milder forms and also when 
mingled with thinking of another kind, even though 
we deceive ourselves into the opinion that it is praise- 
worthy in the lesser degree or when in combination 
with other thinking. 

We might as well say that if a weight does not 
reach a given amount, it is something else besides 
weight, or that it does not have any effect, as to say 
that the milder degree of discordant thinking has 
changed it to something other than what it was 
when more intense, and, therefore, that it does no 
harm. A ton is a ton, and a pound is a pound, 
and both are the same in kind ; each acts in the same 
way in its due proportion. If fifty pounds would 
break down a support, twenty-five would seriously 
weaken it, and ten or even one would proportionately 
reduce its power of resistance. 

Mental conditions are just as uniform in their 
character and action. Anger of any degree, or in 
any of its forms, is always anger however much it 
may be lauded, and even when provoked by some- 
thing which may be thought to make it justifiable. 
In exact proportion to its intensity 'it always brings 
evil to the one who indulges in it. One thought 
never becomes united with another thought to their 
metamorphosis as hydrogen and oxygen disappear 



\ The 

Of 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 8 1 

into water in their chemical union. Thoughts do 

not have any such relation to each other. 

} . 

Everyone is aware that extreme emotion sometimes 

kills, that when it is indulged in to excess, it incapa- 
citates for any kind of effort, while in lesser degree 
it may pass by without notice. If extreme mental 
states produce disastrous results, milder conditions 
must, in their proportion, produce milder results of 
similar character. Though the disadvantage may \ 
be small, still it works its proportion of harm, and 
the energy expended in overcoming its injurious ^ 
effects might have been stored up for future use or 
employed in productive activities. 

The mental condition of doubt is seldom recog- 
nized as discordant, but is often held to be commend- 
able or at least excusable, as well as unavoidable. 
While it has phases that are only mildly discordant, 
yet its uncertainty leads unavoidably to indecision of 
action; and, when this is coupled with that sense 
of responsibility which arises out of the anticipation 
of possible unfavorable consequences, there follows 
much discordant thinking in the form of anxiety 
and worry. These are products of doubt and would \\ 
not appear except for its presence in the mind. 
The two, doubt and responsibility, are the parents 
anxiety, fret, worry, and a large group of other 



82 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

discordant mental conditions. Whenever discord 
appears, the cause which produced it must be dis- 



jcordant. 

Anxiety, though often considered justifiable, 

\\ necessary, or even advantageous, and therefore 

commendable, is a discordant mental condition. 

In its milder forms, at least, it is seldom held to be 

/ . i 

objectionable; but when the weight of responsibility 

rests heavily and anxiety appears in its intensity, 
its true character is clearly manifested in mental 
conditions that are unequivocal in their inharmo- 
' nious peculiarities. 4l lx i e ty ' m its extreme manifes- 
tation puts an effectual stop to all progress. When 
under a keen realization of responsibility, who has 
not hesitated to undertake a good deed, or, having 
undertaken it, has not been greatly hindered by the 
anxiety which attended its execution? These and 
all their train spring from doubt and fear, and find 
. \ their legitimate result in worry and its disasters, 
culminating in moral cowardice and despair. 

Many people are prevented from doing what they 1 1 
know to be wise because they fear the result, and 
often because they are afraid that they will fear in 
the course of the transaction or at the approach of 
its crisis. There may not be anything but their 
own fear to be afraid of; yet they are aware that 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 83 

fear incapacitates, and the fear that they will feai^ \ 
prevents jiny action. "I can't, because I know I 
shall be afraid," is a frequent expression of a con- 
trolling thought, and they who indulge it stand 
V] paralyzed by the fear of their own. fear; but this \\ . 
which they have themselves created they may 

""*"^ ir*T1 i^^iiii 

themselves destroy. 

------ J 

One of the worst errors concerning fear is_Jound__ 
in the thought^ old as historic man, that under 
certain circumstances it is wise to fear. It is easily 
understood how the old writer, who thought God 
was a tyrant ruling in anger and desiring vengeance, 
! could readily believe that "The fear of the Lord is 
the beginning of wisdom." No doubt that writer 
really meant what we mean when we use the same 

. word ; but he was wofully wrong in his conception 

, 
of God's character. His declaration and the ideas 

which caused it were widely prevalent not so very 
long ago, and have aided immensely in leading 
hosts of mankind into false opinions and their con- 
sequent erroneous actions. 

There is a similar error in all those forms and 

; actions of government which rest on fear for their 

motive and efficiency. It is not possible for any 

one, either child or man, to do his best nor to be his 

best when under the dominion of fear; and yet not 



84 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

only parents, but both Church and State, have held 
that fear is salutary and have acted on that propo- 
sition. Untold millions of lives have been dwarfed 
and perverted, and laudable plans without number 
have been thwarted or abandoned because of need- 
less fear. 

Hurry needs no definition. It arises from the 
recognition that a certain object must be accom- 
plished, or a certain amount of work must be done, 
in a given time. If the time is sufficient, there is no 
feeling of haste. If the time seems insufficient, 
there follows a recognition of the necessity for haste, 
and the result is hurry. This grows out of the doubt \ 
which creates the fear that the work may not be 
accomplished in the required time. Hence, it is . 
clear that the root of hurry is doubt or fear. The 
verbal expression of the idea takes some form of 
the declaration: "I am afraid I cannot finish in 
time," which is the natural language of haste and 
reveals its discordant character. Its essential exists 
in the thoughts which constitute its root, and which 
result in the peculiar sensations which always ac- 
company it. 

Abandonment of hurry does not involve the loss 
of anything desirable; instead it results in impor- 
tant advantages. Every one recognizes the truth of 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 8$ 

the old saw: "The more haste, the less speed." 
The mental condition which is produced by the 
feeling of hurry is always an impediment to celerity 
of action, often causes inaccuracy, and sometimes 
results in destruction. In and of itself alone, there- 
fore, hurry, like all other kinds of discordant think- 
ing, is a disadvantage in just the degree of its j 
indulgence. Then abandon that mental condition 
and use the effort thus saved to increase efficiency. 
Grief in many of its forms is thought to be ad- 
mirable. Especially is this the case if it is caused 
by the death of friends. It is then looked upon as an 
expression of kindliness of heart and as a token of 
respect and love for the one who has gone. These 
quab'ties are indeed admirable, but they are entirely 
distinct from grief, although grief has been mis- 
takenly praised for them, solely because its close 
association with them has led to confusion of judg- 
ment. Not to grieve for the loss of friends is con- 
demned as hardness of heart; sorrow for wrong 
doing is held to be right and laudable ; yet we know 
that extreme grief often paralyzes and sometimes 
kills, and that not infrequently sorrow for wrong 
actions is so intense and absorbing as to unfit its 
victim for activity in any right direction. Who 
does not know /among his acquaintances 'those! who 



86 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

have so grieved over business losses that they werfc 
unable to procure the needed support for the ones 
dependent upon them? Who has not known grief 

for the loss of a child! to render the parent, for a 

j 

time at least, incapable of discharging the ordinary 
duties of life? Many cases of grief have resulted 
in insanity. It is true that these are results of ex- 
cessive grief; but all grief has the same character 
istics, and such extreme ;_ insiances only emphasize 
its injurious character. Gates shows by his experi- 
ments that even mild grief ; unfits for vigorous 
activities, a fact often noted by every observer. 

To praise the milder forms of grief and condemn 
its excessive indulgence, or to praise it when it has 
one cause and condemn it when it has another, is 
self-contradictory. If the extreme degrees are in- 
jurious, the lesser ones are proportionately so. If 
one is to be avoided, so should the others be. Qrief 
or regret, by itself alone, is never an advantage. 
It never rights a wrong, nor removes an obstacle, 
nor heals a wound. Shakespeare was correct when 
he wrote: "None can cure their harms by wailing 
them." Wailing only adds to them and makes them 
worse. 

/Ul selfishness is not only discordant in its chai- 
acter, but it L morally wrong; and, though the 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 87 

statement may seem harsh, yet, when accurately 
analyzed, grief in every one of its forms and degrees, 
even grief because of the loss of friends by death, 
is largely if not wholly selfish. If questioned, the 
mourner will himself admit that it is not the change 
which has come to the beloved one 'which causes 
his sorrow. It is his own loss which lies at the 
foundation of his grief; and that is selfishness. 

If there is any truth in the declarations of Chris- 
tian religion, every shade of grief for those who have 
gone before is in direct contradiction to professions 
of love for the departed. If Christians half be- 
lieved what they say they do, they would recognize 
that in death there is not the slightest occasion for 
grief, but rather for rejoicing because of the change 
which has come to the one who has gone. 

Despair in its extreme manifestation is at once 
recognized as discordant; its milder forms are also 
discordant though they may come to the surface 
under many and praiseworthy names. Even much- 
lauded patience may be only that form of despair 
in which one submits to the inevitable. So also is 
resignation; and often Christian resignation, so- 
called, is only despairing acquiescence in what are 
wrongly thought to be decrees of Divine Providence. 

There is a variety of despair, often indulged in by 



88 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

many, which is not ordinarily classed as discordant, 
but which is, nevertheless, extremely dangerous. It 
finds utterance in the declaration, "I can't." This 
is an expression of complete hopelessness and 
voices a discordant thought that will paralyze the 
strongest; will destroy the best, wisest, and most 
fixed intentions; will put an end to the best-laid 
plans, and will terminate the most energetic actions. 
It injures everywhere and will bring disaster to 
anything it touches. 

The thought, "I can't," makes the difference be- 
tween success and failure. The dull boy in school 
is the one who, without making an effort, thinks 
and says "I can't." The bright boy is the one who 
thinks and says "I can." In the beginning there 
may have been very little other difference, only one 
gave up easily and the other not at all; the life of 
one becomes a failure, of the other a brilliant success. 

The only place where "I can't" has any value is 
when used as a refusal to think or do wrong; even 
then it is erroneous in form and does not express 
the appropriate idea. The correct and more vig- 
orous form under such circumstances would be, "I 
will not"; for a person may be abundantly able to 
do what he positively refuses to do. 

"I can't" tends toward the cessation of all action 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 89 

l that is death. "I can" tends toward activity 
I and gives power that is life. Since we would 

avoid the worst of evils, we should cease even to 
\ \ think "I can't." If we would maintain life, we 

should continue to think "I can." The man who 

^PfetM^M^M^MMl* 

never recognizes defeat finally succeeds. It was 
said that the great secret of General Grant's success 
was that he never acknowledged, even to himself, 
that he was beaten. The man who thinks he has 
failed soon does so, and he who thinks he is a failure 

( speedily becomes one. 

A man was bedridden. His physician said that 
he had no disease, and that there was no reason 
why he should not go about his business. The 
physician was correct; the man was a victim of 

I his own thought. One day smoke came pouring 
into his room. It was only a ruse of his doctor, 
but the man thought the house was on fire. Think- \ t 

I ing so, to him it was a reality. He forgot his in- 

I ability; the "I can't" thought was excluded from 

1 ' 

, his mind by another which for the moment was more 

intense, and, in consequence, he got up, dressed, 
and rushed out. "I can't," and not anything else, 
had held him in bondage. 

Banish even the suspicion of the discordant and 
destructive thoughts of hopelessness, defeat, or 



90 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

despair. Do that everywhere, especially in the 
prosecution of the mental training here advocated. 
Whatever the object, let its consideration be always 
without a thought of discouragement, even when 
examining its difficulties most carefully. Scrutinize 
all obstacles for the purpose of rinding how to over- 
come them. If the project is worth the effort, there 
is a way to accomplish it. That way will be found 
if it is sought with, a confidence which excludes all 
doubt. 

Patience is highly lauded and not unduly so when 
contrasted with impatience; but the two are closely 
related. If its own special characteristics are ex- 
amined, patience will be seen to occupy a paradoxical 
position. When one excludes all of that discordant 
thinking which is called impatience, he will not have 
any occasion for the exercise of patience; that is, 
when impatience is wholly put out of mind, patience 
also disappears. Therein is its subtlety and deceit, 
for patience has no possibility of existence without 
some of those discordant thoughts which attend im- 
patience; and in the cultivation of patience one 
unsuspectingly allows and cultivates more or less 
impatience at the very time when he flatters himself 
that he has abandoned it. Hence, there is something 
better than patience, and that is the condition which 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS gi 

exists in the mind after the entire exclusion of all 
impatience. Until this can be attained patience is 
desirable just as a lesser degree of evil is not so bad 
as a greater. Patience may be a good intermediate 
stage in one's progress, but it is unwise to "culti- 
vate patience" as a final virtue because it is only 
harboring a mild degree of error, which sometimes 
verges close on despair. 

Self-condemnation, with its allied lines of think- 
ing, has been highly commended as a proper recog- 
nition of one's own faults and mistakes. It is 
continually taught both by precept and example 
from infancy to old age. Tht little child is asked 
if he is not ashamed of himself for an act which he 
did not know was wrong; the man of business 
teaches the inexperienced boy to blame himself for 
the mistakes of ignorance; the moralist says one 
ought to condemn himself for his wrong doing; 
the Church universally advises sorrow and regret for 
sins, and the deeper the penitence, or the greater the 
condemnation of self, the more laudable it is thought 
to be; and so on through the whole list of ethical 
and moral teachers of every grade. 

Self-condemnation is a woful waste of energy 
which should be directed toward repair of the in- 
jury done and avoidance of similar conditions in the 



$3 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

future. This does not in the slightest degree imply 
less sensitiveness of conscience, less keenness of 
judgment, nor less clearness of sight to perceive the 
right and the wrong of things, nor less eagerness to 
do the right and avoid the wrong; on the contrary, 
its absence gives place for more of these very quali- 
. \ ties and saves waste of vigor in both intellect and 
muscle. 

Self-condemnation at its best is discordant; and 
the various forms of regret, grief over failures, self- 
! distrust which produces doubt land hesitation about 
I proposed or future actions, fear of not succeeding, 
inefficiency, and repression, are among the many 
serious and widespread evils resulting from it. 
Whatever their cause, they right no wrongs, repair 
no errors, set no bones, restore no life, change no act 
that is past, and do no good in any way. Their 
whole progeny is unworthy of any brave, true man. 
The energy thus employed is worse than wasted 
because it is used in work that is destructive, 
occupying valuable time and absorbing valuable 
strength which might otherwise be used in repair- 
ing damages and recovering lost ground. A man 
need neither repeat his sins, his mistakes, nor 
his failures, nor need he condemn himself for 
them. 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 93 

If self-condemnation prevails in any considerable 
degree, there will result such lack of confidence in 
one's own ability as to thrust him out of his proper 
I sphere of activity into a lower one and to deprive 
him of efficiency and executive ability everywhere 
else as well as in this work of securing mental con- 
trol. Such thoughts tend in every way to the degra- 
dation and even to the complete destruction of the 
thinker. Innumerable untimely graves are filled with 
victims of self- blame and its products, disgrace, 
shame, remorse, and despair, and yet self-condem- 
nation has been held up as worthy of all praise bv 
educated, intelligent, and moral people who would 
have known better if they had understood its true 
character. 

/That the boy does not "cry over spilled milk"V 

/ does not indicate indifference to the loss of the milk ; 1 

r crying would only hinder him in his efforts to procure / 

Vmore. That a person does not waste time in vain 

condemnation of himself and his past actions, which 

were probably performed in good faith and with the 

best judgment possible on the information possessed 

at the time they were begun, does not indicate lack 

of understanding, nor want of discrimination, nor a 

disposition to repeat the error. That one does not 

sit in sackcloth and ashes for the crime or sin he 




94 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

has committed is no proof that his determination 
to abandon his evil course is not sincere* 

Our great teacher, Jesus, the Christ, does not 
advise discordant thinking of any kind. He points 
out errors, wrongs, and sins, and holds them up to 
view in their true light, never in the slightest abating 
their enormity. He tells us not to repeat such things ; 
but, so far as we have the record, he does not any- 
where nor under any circumstances advise any one 
to condemn himself or to regret anything he has 
done, or to grieve over it. He speaks of repentance 
and conversion, and in religious circles much stress 
is rightfully laid upon these; but, unfortunately, 
these English words as at present understood do not 
correctly represent the meaning of the Greek words 
for which they stand in the New Testament. 

The Greek word metanoeo, which is translated 
" repent," is thus defined by the lexicographers : " to 
perceive afterwards, to change one's mind or pur- 
pose, to change one's opinion, to have another mind." 
This does not in the least indicate or require regret, 
self-condemnation, or any other discordant thinking. 
Jesus' exhortation was always to change the mind 
for the better, never to spend time wailing over the 
past, and it is entirely presumable that the connection 
of discordant thinking with the true meaning of the 



DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 95 

word arose from the fact that very often such a 
"change of mind" has been accompanied by 
thoughts of grief, regret, and self-condemnation; 
but the word itself does not convey such a meaning, 
any more than do the phrases which are used to 
define it. When the word was addressed to one who 
was in the wrong, it set forth in strictly scientific 
terms the easiest, simplest, and best method of 
making a change in conduct from wrong to right, 
for it simply means " change your mind" no more, 
no less. 

Likewise the Greek word epistrepho, which is 
translated "convert," contains within itself no mean- 
ing indicating any discordant thinking whatever. 
It is defined "to turn, to turn one's self, to turn 
about, to turn around," etc., and is used figuratively, 
as we say, "turn from the error of your ways"; or 
as Peter said in his speech to the people which is 
reported in Acts iii. 19 : " Repent ye therefore, and 
be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." 
^' Change your minds and thereby be turned about" 
exactly expresses the full meaning and brings the 
two words into such proximity that their mutual 
relationship clearly appears. This turning about 
is the natural and inevitable result of the change of 
mind indicated by the true meaning of the word 



96 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

" repent. " Both repentance and conversion will be 
better understood, and their object better accom- 
plished, if the thought about them is limited to the 
rightful meaning of the words, and the judgment 
is not warped by self-condemnation, grief, fear, 
remorse, or any other discordant thinking. 



XI 

HOW TO CONTROL THINKING 

SAID an old Hindu sage who lived so long ago that 
his name has been forgotten: "Let the wise man 
without fail restrain his mind." His counsel would 
have been better if he had said : "Let the wise man 
without fail control his mind;" and perhaps that is 
what he meant, for his real meaning may have been 
lost in erroneous translation. Ever since his time, 
and probably for a long while before, there have been 
men who recognized with more or less distinctness 
and earnestness the advisability of mental control. 
To be able to abandon those varieties of discordant 
and injurious thinking described in the preceding 
chapter would constitute a very desirable element 
of mental control and one which would lead directly 
to most admirable results through complete self- 
control. The question then becomes, how may we 
rid ourselves of discordant thinking? 

The answer is very simple. Stop thinking dis^ 
/cordant thoughts. Turn from one subject and give) 

97 



\ 



98 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

' attention to another; change the thinking from one 
thing to another; drop out of the mind those dis- 
cordant thoughts which occupy it and think other 
and harmonious thoughts. 

Every one who observes his own mental actions 
and methods is aware of countless changes of think- 
ing following one another in rapid succession in 
response to external suggestions or requirements. 
The frequency of these occurrences will surprise all 
those who have not turned their attention in this 
direction. They will also discover that, under all 
ordinary circumstances, these changes are made 
without the slightest appreciable effort. All this is 
normal, occurring in the usual course of mental 
action. It is also ideal. It is toward .such natural 
and ideal action as this that all intentional efforts 
to avoid discordant thinking should be directed. 
To make similar changes intentionally every time 
the discordant thoughts appear, thus dropping them 
out of the mind and giving the attention wholly to 
harmonious thoughts, is to comply with the rule in 
every particular and accomplish every desirable 
result. 

The only unusual mental action involved in this 
course is that the impulse to the action is to come 
from within instead of from without. The change 



HOW TO CONTROL THINKING 99 

should be made purposely, promptly, because of 
one's own choice, and in response to recognized 
principle; but not in heedless compliance with the 
suggestions of external circumstances or conditions. 
If apprehension of either effort or difficulty arises in 
the mind when proposing to abandon discordant 
thinking, it should be instantly excluded because 
it will inevitably lead to some form of the very 
kind of thinking which is to be avoided. This 
course of training depends on choice, must be 
in response to choice, and should be accom- 
panied by the least possible expenditure of will 
or effort. 

So much is said about exercise of the will that the 
term has become enveloped in a cloud of words, its 
true meaning has become obscured to the ordinary 
mind, and its very existence is questioned by some 
of the best-trained intellects. However that may be, 
preceding v/hat is usually recognized as the will, or 
the determination to do, is choice which is without 
conscious effort, while exercise of the will is always 
accompanied by effort, sometimes severe. It all 
finally resolves itself into a question of action in 
response to choice, because choice lies at the founda- 
tion of all these actions, however necessary exercise 
of will may sometimes seem to be. 



100 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

The requirement is merely to drop the discordant 
thought to let go of it as one lets go of a stone in 
the hand and this surely necessitates less exertion 
than to hold on. This act of dropping the discor- 
dant thought ought to be, and may be, nothing more 
than the abandonment of effort in response to choice, 
and it should not require any exercise of energy in 
"enforcing the behest of the will," for there ought 
not to be any of the strenuousness of "will" 
about it. 

Control of the thinking is one of the primary 
actions of the mind and, like all such actions, can no 
more be described than one can tell another how to 
see or how to move. It is possible to say, "Look 
there," or, "Hand me the book," but it is impossible 
to instruct another how to see with the eye or how 
to move the hand. The three mental actions which 
are essential to this mental training are how to think, 
how to stop thinking any particular thought which 
may be in the mind, and how to change the 
thinking from one thought to another. Although 
there cannot be any direct explanation of these 
primary actions, yet, through experience, every one 
knows somewhat of how to accomplish them and 
does not need any instruction beyond the suggestion 
to begin. 



HOW TO CONTROL THINKING IOI 

The method is most clearly and definitely set forth 
by Strong when he says: "Suppose that, while 
thinking, I come within sight of some painful memory 
or inconvenient thought, and turn deliberately away, 
saying, 'No, I must not think of that;' surely, by so 
doing I cause the cessation of the corresponding 
brain-event as effectually as if I went at the cortex 
with a knife. It is as easy to turn the attention awav 
from an idea as to turn the eyes away from an object. 
Nay more, it is as easy to turn the attention away 
from a sensation. To make a visual sensation lapse 
from consciousness, it is not necessary to look away, 
but only to think away." 1 

Apropos of this subject, Edward Carpenter says: 
"If a pebble in our boot torments us, we expel it. 
We take off the boot and shake it out. And once the 
matter is fairly understood it is just as easy to expel 
an intruding and obnoxious thought from the mind. 
About this there ought to be no mistake, no two 
opinions. The thing is obvious, clear, and unmis- 
takable. It_should be as easy to expel an obnoxious 
thought from your mind as it is to shake a stone out 
of your shoe; and till a man can do that, it is just 
nonsense to talk about his ascendency over nature, 
and all the rest of it. He is a mere slave and a prey 

1 Why the Mind has a Body, p. 95. 



102 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the 
corridors of his own brain." 

President McCosh says: "Though a man may 
not be able to command his sensibilities directly, 
he has complete power over them indirectly. He 
can guide and control, if not the feeling itself, at 
least the idea, which is the channel in which it flows. 
. . . He may be able to banish the unholy idea by 
calling in a more elevating one ; he may remove the 
object out of the way or remove out of the way of 
the object, and the flame left without its feeder will 
die out. A man can thus control his feelings ; be is 
responsible for them, for their perversion, for their 
excess, and defect." 

He who is really in earnest and perseveres in the 
practice, doing his best to stop his discordant think- 
ing in ways which his own intelligence and experi- 
ence will suggest, will learn the whole lesson. There 
is no secret about it, nor any copyright, nor patent. 
By inheritance it is the right of -every human being, 
and every one who is in earnest will find the way to 
claim his inheritance and control his thinking. In 
practical mechanics, however much the boy may 
have heard or read, he does not know much about 
his work until he uses the tools, and by using them 
learns certain things that cannot be verbally com- 



HOW TO CONTROL THINKING 103 

municated ; so here, in the practice of these things, 
one may learn for himself vastly more than can be 
told in words. The earnest practitioner in mental 
as well as in physical training will gain an under- 
standing and a power which will enable him to do 
what seemed impossible at the outset. 



xn 

SUBSTITUTION 

PURPOSELY putting out one thought and occupying 
the mind with another may be called the method of 
substitution. Exclusion of discordant thoughts 
furnishes opportunity for harmonious ones to take 
their place. If the purpose is intense enough, the 
new thought will never have to be sought for, 
because ceasing to think one thought uncovers 
another which at once presents itself in the place 
of the one which was discarded. 

Decisive action at this point in the process is 
especially important. On the instant and without 
hesitation, seize the first thought which appears and 
hold it tenaciously. When the dangerous intruder | 
has been dislodged, the positive, unwavering accept- 
ance of the new thought will close the door and lock 
it behind the ejected intruder. To occupy the mind 
in looking about for some specially appropriate 
thought will cause such indecision and vacillation 
as will give the one excluded abundant opportunity 

104 



SUBSTITUTION IO$ 

to return. Do not stop at first to question the char- 
acter of the newcomer. That can be decided later 
when the mental control is more assured, and then 
if another more desirable thought presents itself, it 
may be accepted in its turn. 

The mind must be active. The room which was 
once filled with erroneous and discordant thoughts, 
but which has been swept clean of them, must im- 
mediately be filled with desirable ones so that there 
may be no place for the return of the former objec- 
tionable occupants. "We should have our prin- 
ciples ready for use on every occasion" is as true 
now as when Epictetus first declared it. Good 
thoughts will then be ready to appear as soon as they 
are given the opportunity by the turning out of bad 
ones. Of course 'it is at all times and in every way 
advantageous intentionally and consciously to bring 
good thoughts into the mind and keep them there; 
then evil ones will not have an opportunity to enter. 

In the prosecution of this mental training employ- 
ment of any kind is a decided advantage because it 
keeps the mind occupied with a better kind of think- 
ing than might otherwise fill it. Herein lies one of 
the greatest benefits connected with labor. The 
labor should not be such as results in great physical 
fatigue, nor should it require such special attention 



106 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

as to produce mental exhaustion. It should be 
neither excessive nor insufficient, but adapted men- I 
tally and physically to the condition of the person 
who is employed in it. If excessive, there is danger 
of mental reaction through fatigue; if insufficient, 
there is danger that the unoccupied mind may take 
up some objectionable topic. Mental activity and 
the character of that activity are the essentials; the 
labor is valuable only as an aid to control mental 
action. 

Herein, also, lies the advantage connected with 1 
travel and change of scene. Under these circum- ' 
stances nearly every one submits himself to the sug- 
gestions of his new surroundings and allows his mind 
to follow them without any effort at control. Re- 
moval from the old familiar environment into scenes 
of an entirely different character gives new sugges- 
tions which substitute new lines of thinking in place 
of the former habitual ones, and these changed men- 
tal conditions bring fresh stimulus to the physical 
jsystem. It is change of thinking which causes the 
beneficial result, not change of air. 

The idle and frivolous need the change that stimu- 
lates new thought more than those who are engaged 
in productive work, because their thinking is far more 
liable to be of an injurious character. This is the 



SUBSTITUTION IO7 

secret of the physical degeneration which follows 
fives of luxury or idleness; the poison is in the 
character of their thinking. 

Just at this place it may be well to note this self- 
evident fact: exclusion of discordant, erroneous, 
or immoral thinking gives just so much more time 
and opportunity for the harmonious, truthful, or 
moral thinking. From considerations of utility 
alone, this is very important; the questions of 
morality make it much more so. 

A most excellent way to turn the thoughts from 
discordant channels into harmonious ones is to look 
habitually for the good, both in persons and in 
things. It is an accepted fact that nothing can exist 
which is wholly evil or entirely separated from good. 
There was never a person who did not have some 
good qualities or who did not do some good deeds; 
nor ever a thing, however much it might be out of 
place, that did not have somewhat of good in it or 
closely connected with it. Then the search for the 
good, if diligent and faithful, need never be in vain ; 
and when found, it ought to be well and carefully 
treasured. With this habit fully established, error 
thoughts will seldom intrude. Steadfastly "Look 
for the good in thine enemy." 

The fact that good and bad are often close to- 



I08 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

gether, and that there is never anything wholly bad, 
is well illustrated in the answer of the member of 
the kirk, who had been charged with saying good 
things of the devil an unpardonable sin in the eyes 
of those valiant old Scotch Presbyterians of former 
days. Her answer and her defence was : "Ah weel, 
mon, 'twere vera gude for a' the members o' the kirk 
if they had his persistence." 

The search for the good should be undertaken for 
its own sake alone, and not with any ulterior or 
secondary object in view. The one purpose should 
always be kept fully to the front. If this search 
for the good is prosecuted with the desire to secure 
through it some other advantage, that second object 
should be dropped out of the mind because its pres- 
ence will tend strongly toward defeat. This is 
because the action of thejmnd will be divided by the 
pursuit of two objects and neither will receive its 
whole attention, consequently each will fall short of 
its rightful result. The hunter cannot aim his rifle 
at two different objects at the same time with any 
serious expectation of hitting either. To be double 
minded is to invite defeat. 

;The whole subject may be well illustrated by the 
ise of the young lady who could not sleep because 
le noises of the city disturbed her. She was told 



SUBSTITUTION IOQ 

[ that every noise, whatever its character, had a 
musical note and was advised to try to find that 
note in each of the various sounds which she heard. 
In compliance with this advice she abandoned all 
attempts to go to sleep and pursued that one object 
with the result that she slept soundly all night. 
The explanation is that before she had dwelt strongly 
on the discordant characteristics of the noises which 

! she heard, and, by her own thinking, had enlarged ' 
her consciousness of the discord_ as well as of her 
consequent sufferings, and thus she kept herself 
awake. In her search for the musical notes she 
lost sight of the disturbing discordant conditions, 
and she fell asleep because the discord no longer \ 
disturbed her. If, during her search for the musical 
notes and her contemplation of them, she had kept 
in her mind the thought that she was doing this for 
the purpose of inducing sleep, she would thus have 
kept herself wide awake because her mental action 
would have been divided between two objects, and 
she would have been constantly aware of the fear 
(discordant thought) that after all she might not 
secure the coveted sleep. Let the mind be single. 
If so much can be accomplished in the purely 
physical way by singleness of purpose in the search 
for the good, surely equally conclusive results may 



IIO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

be gained in moral and spiritual directions; and by 
so much as these are more desirable will the conse- 
quences be more valuable. 

Therefore this search for the good, which is one 
of the best methods by which harmonious thinking 
may be substituted for discordant, should not be 
limited to an attempt for the moment only. It 
should be a life work, constantly in exercise, and it 
should be pursued until complete success is at last 
attained in the exclusion of every discordant thought. 
Thus life will be made to shine brighter and brighter, 
not alone for the one who practises the lesson and 
learns it, but also for all his associates, until at last 
it shall irradiate the world. We do not, nor can we, 
live and make ourselves better for ourselves alone. 
This is a work for self which does not have any 
selfishness in it. 



xm 

IMMEDIATE ACTION 

THE discordant thought often appears very 
suddenly in response to external suggestion, and 
sometimes that fact is made an excuse for allow- 
ing it to pursue its course. The plea is, "It came 
before I knew it;" but this does not justify any one 
in allowing it to continue. One can think in one 
direction just as rapidly as in another, and, if he 
chooses to do so, he can stop the discordant thought 
as suddenly as it appeared even on the very 
instant. The unexpected flash of anger can be 
cast out of the mind with the same instantaneous- 
ness that it started. 

There is no difference in the rapidity of the 
different kinds of thinking. It takes no longer 
to think harmonious thoughts than discordant 
ones, and no longer to exclude the discordant 
thought than it did to admit it. If one is instan- 
taneous, so may the other be. Though it takes a 
little time for the mind to send its orders along 

in 



112 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

the nerve to the muscle, still, in itself alone, 
thinking is very nearly if not quite instantaneous. 

Of course, in all this there are those thoughts 
which immediately precede an act, and others 
which were antecedent and contributory to it. 
The series may be a long one, running far back 
into the past. Before a man murders another, 
there must have been in his own mind thoughts 
of greed, envy, anger, hate, desire for revenge, or 
others of evil character. According to some state- 
ments of modern science, these may have fol- 
lowed one another through generations of ances- 
tors. The first one of the series is more easily 
controlled than any of its successors, and de- 
struction of the first prevents the birth of any of the 
others. They are all evil and discordant, and, 
under the rule, each is to be abandoned as soon 
as it appears, even though none of them point to 
any immediate "overt act." 

Indeed, the danger of the overt act does not 



constitute the greatest danger. That really 
in the first thought of the series. The woodsman 
can split the log if he can only make an entrance 
into the wood with the point of his wedge, and so 
it is with thinking. A person should not allow 
in his mind the smallest item of discordant thought* 



IMMEDIATE ACTION 113 

because it is there that the danger lies. It is the 
point of the wedge, and safety lies in not admitting 
even that. 

That wise old Chinese philosopher, Lao-tsze, 
said: " Contemplate a difficulty while h is easy. 
Manage a great thing while it is small." If the 
seed is destroyed, there will be neither the little 
shoot nor the rank weed to be uprooted and cast 
away. The trouble with many of us is that we do 
not understand, and we allow weeds to grow until 
they overrun the garden. Let there be neither 
hesitation nor delay. Discordant thinking gathers 
force and persistence with every moment it con- 
tinues. Delay affords it an opportunity to intrench 
itself, and this only increases the difficulty. If 
one neglects the little fire, he cannot stop the big 
conflagration. 

The boy coasting, if he sees danger ahead, may 
check his first movement with very little difficulty. 
Whether the start is abrupt and the descent steep > 
or more deliberate in the beginning and the descent 
more gradual, the stop should be made with 
decisive promptness the very instant that danger 
is perceived. Halfway down the declivity, when 
the velocity is great and the accumulated impetus 
is considerable, the stop cannot be made so easily. 



114 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

The boy may put down the brakes, but there is 
danger of accident, and he must "play the game 
out" even though he may conclude it sooner 
because of his efforts. The better and easier way 
is not to start ; or, having started, to stop ai the 
first movement. 

The discordant thought should be dropped out 
of the mind as quickly as a red-hot coal would be 
dropped out of the hand, and another and har- 
monious thought should be welcomed in its place 
with equal celerity. Prompt and decisive action 
here will save much future effort. 



XIV 

PERSISTENCE 

EVERY least mental action has its result. By 

the law of the persistence of energy, nothing ever 
happens, however seemingly unimportant, with- 

[ out its effect on succeeding events. Astronomers 
say that the falling of a pebble moves the earth 
out of its course in exact proportion to the size of 
the pebble. Everything has its own value and 
importance. Then we ought to seek out the 

f smallest manifestation of discordant thinking and 

j stop it, because the slightest objectionable thought 
must have its result, and therefore it should never 

1 be allowed to run its course. It would be a serious 
mistake to suppose any thought too trivial to re- 
quire attention. 
The rule at Donnybrook Fair applies here: 

" Wherever you see a head, hit it. " The least is 
not too small to be terminated if it is wrong. The 
little error in its little beginnings ought to be 1 
taken care of as soon as it is perceived. Through 

S 



IlO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

doing this, one becomes thoroughly prepared for 
complete mastery of the larger ones whenever | 
they present themselves. Neglect of the little 
ones will create inability to cope with the greater. 
Indeed, if this rule is followed, the greater ones 
will never appear. 

It is equally important that the change when 
once made should be steadfastly maintained. ! 
If the erroneous or discordant thought returns, 
it shoi-ld again be instantly dismissed, and this 
should be repeated with every return, regardless 
of its frequency. To allow its continuance, even 
for the briefest moment, means greater difficulty 
in dealing with it. There should be no dallying 
or postponement. The old German proverb is 
exactly applicable in this place: "The street By- 
and-by leads to the house Never." 

^ .1 ii -T "*aai^m__ H_-JMUOT-I " 

Professor James gives such a vivid illustration 
of the effect of failure to maintain constant control 
of the thinking when once it has been undertaken, 
and of the extremely slight suggestion which may 
divert one's mind into its former channel, that 
the paragraph is inserted here because of the 
instruction it contains for those who are striving 
after mental control. He says: 

"For example, I am reciting Locksley Hatt 



PERSISTENCE 117 

in order to divert mv mind from a state of sus- 

I 

pense that I am in concerning the will of a relative 
that is dead. The will still remains in the mental 
background as an extremely marginal and ultra- 
marginal portion of my field of consciousness; 
but the poem fairly keeps my attention from it, 
until I come to the line, 'I, the heir of all the ages, 
in the foremost files of time.' The words, 'I, 
the heir,' immediately make an electric connec- 
tion with the marginal thought of the will; that, 
in turn, makes my heart beat with anticipation of 
my possible legacy, so that I throw down the book 
and pace the floor excitedly, with visions of my 
future fortune pouring through my mind. " * 

Emotronsjy&jOT^ 1 

by mental conditions. Control of the thinking 

ktfMMBM^H***M^t** k **MMKMVMnmm HflMav ^_ | ^l 

will always control the emotions. Men and 
women who do not exercise this control as they 
should, thereby allow their emotions to control 
them to their own destruction. If at the beginning 
they had controlled their thinking, they would 
have avoided the whole difficulty. Christison 
writes, italicizing his words: "In normal mind 
it can be controlled by the power of the will to 
exclude or substitute ideas as directed. " 3 Evggj^ 

1 Talks to Teachers p. 87. 3 Brain in Relation to Mind, p. IJ& ( 



Il8 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

emotion becomes My controllable by excluding 
from the mind the thoughts which produced it. 
This can always be done in the milder forms of 
thinking, and exercising this control of the milder 
forms will produce such a mental state that vio- 
lent conditions will not occur. 

Each person who attempts purposely to dismiss 
discordant thinking will have experiences pecul- 
iar to himself. Some thoughts will be more easily 
set aside than others; and this will vary with his 
own varying mental conditions. Many difficul- 
ties will arise because his thinking heretofore has 
been allowed to run on without direction and 
subject to any external suggestion which prompted 
it; others because he approaches the new course 
of action loaded down with the idea that it requires 1 
strenuous effort. Habits of long continuance are 
not destroyed with a single effort, and perfection 
of mental control is not attained at once. Many 
difficulties are sure to appear, but by perseverance 
they can be overcome. The work will be less 
difficult and the action more persistent if one 
realizes that the advantages to be gained vastly 
outvalue the efforts involved. 

As a matter of practice it will be best to begin 
with that inharmonious thinking which seems 



PERSISTENCE 119 

the least difficult to overcome. The wise genera? 
strives to divide the forces of his enemy and 
attack each detachment separately, the weakest 
one first. He thus defeats them more easily 
because his own strength is greater than that of 
the portion of the foe upon which all his efforts 
are concentrated. The athlete did not begin 
with great things but with the smaller ones, and 
in the practice of these he gained the strength and 
wisdom which enabled him to overcome the - 
larger ones. 

It is best to follow a similar method in mental 
training. Divide the enemy and attack the weaker 
outposts first. These overcome, the intrenched 
city will not then be so formidable. Lift the 
smaller weight which is suited to the strength, 
and the exercise will prepare one for the heavier 
objects. The highest mountain peak can be 
scaled only by first ascending the smaller elevations 
which buttress it. 

When the thought that seems of minor impor- 
I tance has been cut off and cast aside, another can 
! be undertaken, and then another. Facility will ' 
come with practice, and what was begun with 
difficulty will be ended with ease. Each suc- 
ceeding task may be only a little more difficult 



120 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

than the one already accomplished, and in each 
he will find advantages arising from his experi- 
ences with the former ones. Thus the work may 
go on from one erroneous thought to another until 
all discordant thoughts are thrust out. 

Each morning let there be an intentional renewal 
of confidence for the dawning hours. Begin the 
day with hopeful consideration of the subject. 
Recount the incidents of yesterday and make an 
examination of the methods which were adopted 
to avoid failure and to secure success. This care- 
ful consideration of former successful efforts will 
enlarge the understanding, strengthen the confi- 
dence, and materially help to gain greater victories 
in the coming day. Rejoice mentally and be 
^lad over each triumph. Be very glad. Glad- 
ness alone invigorates powerfully, as do all har- 
monious thoughts. Cultivate gladness. Depres- 

MMMHMMH^M4MMMwUl (HHMHMWMMiMHIl* 

sion disappears just in proportion as one cultivates 
gladness and serenity. 

^^(^'WP* 

It is probable that in the prosecution of this 
work the beginner will meet with some surprises. 
Not only will unexpected difficulties present them- 
selves, and that which he expected to dispose of 
easily prove very persistent, but he may even find 
himself enjoying and really desiring to continue 



PERSISTENCE 121 

his indulgence in a line of discordant thinking 
which heretofore he has suspected to be more or 
less objectionable, and which, in his clearer under- 
standing, he now knows to be so. In these expe- 
riences the careful observer of his own mental 
processes will gain much wisdom and many a 
stimulant which will aid him to persist in his efforts 
to achieve complete success. 

Perhaps the greatest danger may arise from dis- 
couragement. Under the stimulus of the first 
enthusiasm all will probably go well, and there 
will be many successes which will seem wonderful 
and which may encourage the beginner to think 
that the work is nearly completed. Possibly the 
thought may occur that the necessity for so 
much vigilance has passed, and this may cause a 
little relaxation of attention and consequent care- 
lessness; or there may be a sense of effort and 
weariness. These are seductions to beware of, ) 
because they are quite liable to be succeeded by 
slips which are more or less serious and difficult j 
to overcome, and disappointment and discourage- .' 
ment are almost sure to follow. 

This is an important place in the course of men- 
tal training, for a little hesitation and a little slip- 
ping back into the old habits which are so seduc- 



122 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

tive may be fatal to the purpose and cause the 
abandonment of further effort. At the least it 
will entail the necessity for greater effort than has 
been before put forth in order to recover lost 
ground. As in the case of the habitual drinker 
who is trying to reform, little lapses, if allowed, 
are almost sure to lead to more important ones, 
and it will require more strenuous efforts to over- 
come them than were requisite at the start. The 
danger to the drinker is in his first dram, and in 
this training the serious danger is Jn gfllowinfi the 
little discordant thought, so small as to seem of 
no consequence whatever, to continue unchecked ; 
but however great the task, steady persistence 
and perseverance are sure to succeed at last 



XV 

NOT ALWAYS EASY 

IT is not claimed that it always appears to be 
easy to change the thinking in response to one's 
own choice without reference to external sugges- 
tions, or, as must often be the case, in direct oppo- 
sition to them ; nor will one acquire in a day the 
power to do this every tune and on the instant. 
An established habit of any kind is not broken 
by a few feeble attempts ; but persistent, faithful, 
determined effort will overcome the most dominant 
habit that ever fastened itself on a human being. 

The single condition necessary to success in this 
mental training is that one should be enough in 
earnest to persist in the repetition of the effort 
every tune the excluded thought reappears. The 
ability to do this is in itself alone extremely valu- 
able even if there were no other consideration. 
Professor James well says, and none too strongly : 
" 'he faculty of bringing back the wavering atten- 
tion over and over again is the very root of judg- 

123 



124 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

ment, character, and will. No one is compos sui 
if he have it not. An education which should 
improve this faculty would be the education par 
excellence." The ability to do this is at the basis 
of success in securing control of the thinking, and 
also at the basis of every success in life. The 
method of doing it, as we have seen, is the very 
perfection of simplicity and of effectiveness as 
well, and James is correct when he says that this 
is preeminently the best education. It ought to 
be made the basis of all education, for what is 
learned early in life is learned easily. It is, how- 
ever, abundantly worth the effort no matter how 
difficult it may be. 

One item of great importance in connection 
with it is the fact that for its prosecution and 
attainment one does not require salaried teachers, 
nor ponderous books, nor any outlay beyond the 
expenditure of one's own effort; nor does it re- 
quire any change of living, nor absence from home, 
nor from any occupation. It can be prosecuted 
anywhere, under any circumstances, and in con- 
nection with any other employment. One may 
be his own instructor; indeed he must be, for 
another cannot instruct him in this. He must 
himsdf select and learn his own lessons, find out 



NOT ALWAYS EASY 12$ 

and correct his own mistakes, and, indeed, do fa 

" 

himself all that a teacher would do for him in 
another branch of training; but perseverance, 
persistence, and the determination to succeed will 
surely overcome all difficulties and bring success. 
Any one can do it. The whole process consists 
simply in ceasing to do what ought not to be done, 
and in repeating that process whenever necessary. 

The fact that a person can sometimes success- 
fully control his thinking proves that he may do 
it every time that he really so desires. What a 
man has once done he can do again. This fact 
is of the utmost importance here, because it indi- 
cates beyond question that complete success is 
attainable in spite of all difficulties. He has only 
to banish the discordant thought each time it 
returns. 1 

The one who is in earnest and persistently 
pursues this object should not weary in it. Inci- 
dents of more or less importance will present them- 
selves from time to time through the whole course, 
which will show the amount of progress that has 
been made and the value of what has already been 
attained. They will also show what is yet to be 

1 " I am only telling you,' said the Tinker, ' what you could do 
if you tried. Kittles ain't so hard to mend if you keep on.' " 



126 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

done and how to do it. It will be strange if occa- 
sions do not arise when the temptation to despair 
will be almost overwhelming, and success will 
seem almost impossible; but despair is one. ..of .the 
worst of discordant thoughts and must be dis- 
missed instantly, regardless of its source or prov- 
ocation. There may also be incidents which 
seem like failures, but they may all be overcome 
and turned into successes. Let it be kept steadily 
in mind that "difficulties are only things to be 
overcome." The old Chinese proverb says: 
"Remain careful to the end as in the beginning, 
and you will not fail in your enterprise." 

The only possible course is to persevere through 
everything. There is no field of action wherein 
greater or more valuable results can be achieved 
with a given amount of effort. The way is straight 
and narrow, but the prize at the end is as great 
as man ever struggled for. Paul says of one who 
is seeking better things: "Let him not be weary 
in well doing, for in due season he shall reap if he 
faint not." And we need never forget, for it is 
forever true, that 

" We always may be what we might have been." 



XVI 

EFFECT OF THE PHYSICAL ATTITUDE 

THE character of the outward physical expres- 
sion is of much importance. For instance, the 
influence of the grief thought upon the body is 
such as not alone to cause the tears to flow, but 
also to give its own peculiar expression to the face, 
to the gestures, and even to the attitude of the 
whole body. So, likewise with the opposite emo- 
tions of happiness, joy, or serenity, each produces 
in the body its own characteristic expression. 
In all cases the body follows the mind, and then I \ 
the mind is influenced by its recognition of the 
bodily conditions caused by its own previous action. 1 

1 1 have seen a person thrown into feverish conditions by his 
own mental actions, and then frightened when he recognized the 
physical conditions which his own mind had caused. The fright 
was the result of his perception of the fever, was caused by that 
perception and would not have occurred without it. If, when he 
perceived the fever, he had also recognized its cause, there would 
not have been any fear. Hence, though we speak of the influence 
of the body upon the mind, that influence arises from and is caused \ 
by mental action, namely, the mind's perception of the condition - 
of the body, 

127 



128 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

This bodily action upon the mind, through 
its recognition of physical conditions, is so strong 
that if the bodily attitude natural to any mental 
mood is purposely assumed, that physical atti- 
tude will so act upon the mind as to induce those 
mental conditions which would normally produce 
the assumed bodily expression. This influence 
of the body upon the mind through the mind's 
own action may be used for the control and 
improvement of mental conditions. 

The normal bodily expression for cheerfulness 
is an erect spinal column, the head well poised, 
and a general slightly upward direction of the 
eyes. This very position which cheerfulness 
would naturally give to the body will itself, if pur- 
posely assumed and maintained, produce cheer- 
fulness. In fact, the mental effect resulting from 
this attitude is such that it is impossible for a per- 
son to continue it for half an hour in walking or 
any other physical activity and remain mentally 
depressed. 

f One who is seeking to banish discordant think\ 

/ ing should assume that bodily attitude or expresA 

1 sion which the desired harmonious thinkingy 

would naturally produce. Let him smile whether 

he feels like smiling or not. Even a forced smile 



EFFECT OF THE PHYSICAL ATTITUDE I2Q 

assist toward banishing the mental discord. \ 
"Assume a virtue if you have it not." Force a 
smile that a spontaneous one may follow. It 
will help toward the introduction of harmonious 
thinking, and if this is fostered by the right men- 
tal effort, the two will work together for immediate 
success. But let it be a smile and not a grin; at 
least let it have as much of smile and as little of 
grin as possible. No one can force a smile with- 
out producing somewhat of the smiling thought, 
just as no one can assume the attitude of cheer- 
fulness without somewhat of cheerfulness arising 
in the mind. In this lies a large part of the rea- 
son why the bodily attitude or expression is so 
efficacious in bringing into realization the desired 
mental condition. Behind the clouds which obscure 
11 the vision the sun is always shining, and one need 
not abide in the shadow except by his own choice. 

The actor, whether in public or private life, 
can achieve full success only by producing within 
himself_ the mental conditions^ he would repre- 
sent; and in like manner he who would win in 
mental control will find a most powerful assistant 
toward the production of the desired mental condi- 
tion by assuming the physical attitude or expression 
which represents the thought that he desires. 



130 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

Professor James, in his Talks to Teachers^ 
has a very strong paragraph on this subject: 
"Thus, the sovereign voluntary path of cheerful- 
ness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is 
to sit up cheerfully, to look round cheerfully, and 
to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already 
there. If such conduct does not make you soon 
feel cheerful, nothing else on that occasion can. 
So, to feel brave, act as if you were brave, use all 
your will to that end, and a courage-fit will very 
likely replace the fit of feai. Again, in order to 
feel kindly toward a person to whom we have been 
inimical, the only way is more or less deliberately 
to say genial things. One hearty laugh together 
will bring enemies into closer communion of heart 
than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling 
with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling. 
To wrestle with a bad feeling only pins our atten- 
tion to it, and keeps it still potent in the mind; 
whereas, if we act from some better feeling, the 
old bad feeh'ng soon folds its tent like an Arab 
and silently steals away." 1 

/* James is right in what he says about " wrestling," and the A 
/reader will note that the dominant idea of this book is jiot to \ 
I wrestle with wrong thinking, but to drop it and, having thus put it / 
I oat of the mind, let it alone forever. 

V" 



EFFECT OF THE PHYSICAL ATTITUDE 131 

This is not hypocrisy. It is not done to deceive, 
as hypocrisy is. It is done for the purpose of 
banishing wrong thinking it does it and that 
is praiseworthy. 



xvn 

ALL ONE'S OWN WORK 

THIS work of excluding discordant thinking 
from the mind does not involve any attempt to 
proselyte or to interfere with others in any way. 
It does not directly concern any one but the per- 
son who is engaged in the work for himself, and 
it certainly does not deal with any one else; neither 
ought another to interfere unless asked, because 
such interference would not only be an imperti- 
nence but a hindrance. Walt Whitman stated 
the case clearly and concisely when he wrote: 

u No one can acquire for another not one. 
No one can grow for another not one. 

This is true because one cannot either see, hear, 

or think for another, but each must do these things 

^* 

for himself. Because one's thinking is entirely 
his own and cannot by any possibility be another's, 
whatever is involved in thinking with all its con- 
tingencies and consequences is necessarily one's 

133 




ALL ONE'S OWN WORK 133 

own and depends exclusively upon one's own 
efforts; but the exclusion of discordant thoughts 
and the ushering in of harmonious ones is the 
business of thinking solely, and therefore it belongs 
to one's own self and cannot be delegated to 
another. The actual cleansing of the temple 
must be one's own work. 

Other things depend more or less on the action 
of some one else to hinder or to help, but a man's 
thoughts need not depend in the least upon what 
another does, or says, or thinks. A man's mind 
is a domain where, unless he consents, no one but 
himself can enter, and he need not allow another 
to have the slightest control over it. His think- 
ing is his own and never another's, and another's 
need never be his unless he chooses to accept it; 
therefore the responsibility is all his own also, 
but the compensation for that lies in the fact that 
his action may be unimpeded and uninfluenced 
free. 

The law, in the person of an officer, can take 
charge of one's body and transport it from place 
to place or lock it up in prison, can dispose of a 
man's property as it sees fit, and may compel him 
to do many things which he himself does not wish 
to do; but unless he allows it, no human power 



134 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

can enter his mind to interfere with his thinking. 
A man's thoughts are his own until he gives them 
utterance, and in the world of his own mind each 
man may reign supreme. ItisJ^ej^yjnejright 
of every human being to think as he pleases. 1 

More important than the old poet imagined 
was the truth he uttered when he ' -vid : " My 
mind to me a kingdom is," and he would have 
added to the accuracy and power of the expression 
if he had said: "My mind to me my kingdom is." 
A man's mind is indeed his own kingdom, and he 
ought never to allow it to become the kingdom of 
another wherein he himself is a subject. If a man 
has trained his thinking, he may declare more 
truly than the lone Selkirk: 

u I am monarch of all I survey, 
My right there is none to dispute.** 

All this is most favorable to the prosecution of 
mental training, because il places the whole work 
of development hi one's own hands, unimpeded 

1 Holding to this principle, but forgetting that a divine right 
relates to divine things, it has been widely held that a man has the 
right to think what he pleases, provided his thoughts have no out- 
ward expression in word or deed; but the conclusion is irresistible 
that a man has no more right to think wrong thoughts than he has 
to do wrong deeds. Immoral thinking should he held in abeyance 
M inflexibly as immoral action, for it is the root of all immorality. 



ALL ONE'S OWN WORK 135 

and uninfluenced by others. A modern writer 
has truly said, though with a note of sadness which 
does not belong to it, that "in all its deepest expe- 
riences the soul is solitary. Every crucial choice 
must be solitary." Though this mental solitari- 
ness is a necessity, it does not cause a man to hold 
aloof from others, nor does it prohibit one single 
valuable social pleasure or advantage; but it is 
a boon, and a glory as well, and it may bring a 
consciousness of power, dominion, and freedom 
that cannot come from any other source. He, 
/who has trained his mind to obey his own behests 
and has asserted and realized his rightful mentaV 
supremacy over himself, can better enjoy contact 
with his fellows and can reap greater advantage 
from association with them. Over him there can- 
not be any domination by others, whatever their 
course, and he will enjoy a freedom that nothing 
but mental control can give. 

Here at last is ideal freedom, which, when coupled 
with recognition of the self-control which is insep- 
arable from it, gives man a sense of ability to be 
and to do such as nothing else can. The greatest 
strength lies hi the vivid realization of this fact 
when one really awakes to its existence. He can 
himself, as he chooses, thrust aside impediments 



136 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

within himself without interfering with another, 
and with no one to interfere with his action or to 
ask why. This ability is not to be spasmodically 
expressed, but is always to be steadily maintained. 
In nothing else does man need to be alone, but 
here he stands entirely alone and yet without any 
sense of loneliness; indeed, this very aloneness 
may become one of his greatest blessings, for, 
having banished discordant thoughts, here one 
may, as Emerson directs, "stay at home in his 
heaven." The results for good may reach out 
into the vast unknown of humanity in unexpected 
and undreamed-of ways which were never planned. 



xvm 

DESTRUCTION OF DISCORDANT 
THOUGHTS 

THE advantage and efficiency of the course here 
advocated rest in large part upon the important 
fact, perhaps not often noted, that those things 
a person is not thinking about are, to him, at the 
time, as though they did not exist. Thus, through 
forgetfulness, an object or an idea passes entirely 
out of consciousness, and, to the thinker, during 
the time of forgetfulness, it is as though it had 
never existed. It can be brought back by recol- 
lection, when the thinker will once more have it 
in mind; that is, by the mental action it will again 
become to him a reality. 

The mere sight of a thing is not what gives it 
reality, for to the sight of it must be added con- 
sciousness of that sight. This consciousness is 
itself a form of thinking which must take place 
before the thing becomes a reality to the one who 
sees it; therefore before it enters into consciousness 



138 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

and after it passes out of consciousness it does not 
exist to the thinker. 

We laugh at the person who becomes so absorbed 
in some special thought as to be wholly unaware 
of everything else. To him, at the time, the one 
thing he is thinking about is all there is in exist- 
ence. On the other hand, he may be thinking 
so intently as to make a thing real to him even 
in its absence. A man was accustomed to shave 
himself every morning before a mirror which had 
hung for a long time in one particular place. The 
mirror was removed, but for several days he went 
as usual to the same place and shaved himself 
without accident, just as he had done when the 
mirror was there; but one morning his attention 
was called to the absence of the mirror, and he cut 
himself when he thus was made aware that he no 
longer had its assistance. To those who are spe- 
cially intent on one particular thing, the only thing 
that exists is the one they are thinking about, and 
that is existent to them whether it is to others or 
not. The only difference between such a man 
and the ordinary person lies solely in the fact that 
he is recalled to consciousness of existent condi- 
tions with more difficulty than others are. 

Every one has sometimes been so engrossed as 



DESTRUCTION OF DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 139 

to be wholly unaware of things going on around 
him; but this only indicates intense mental atten- 
tion in one direction to the entire exclusion of all 
else. Many a person has become so absorbed 
in a game of cards as to lose all consciousness of 
pain, and some have indulged in the game that 
they might make themselves oblivious to both 
physical and mental suffering. This is a form 
of forgetfulness ; the thought is no longer in the 
mind, and, having passed out of the mind, it no 
longer creates discord nor generates injurious 
chemical substances in the body. When this is 
made permanent it is called healing; and the per- 
son who has trained himself so that he has com- 
plete control over his mind can make it permanent 
without the excitement of a game of cards. 
f Things are real to the thinker because they are 
/ in his mind, and it makes no difference to him 
how unreal they may be if he believes them to be 
real. This is illustrated by all those who labor 
under hallucinations. Non-existent things are 
real to such persons, and often they are so intently 
engaged in these unrealities and believe in them 
to such an extent as not to be aware of the realities 
which are pressing them. 
But we do not need to go to the insane for ex- 



140 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

amples. He who is fully persuaded that his friend 
is false, however untrue that may be, is in the 
same condition both mentally and physically as 
if it were true. The world is full of such incidents, 
and they have come within the observation of 
every one. It is thinking that makes the thing 
real, and in the absence of that thinking it does 
not exist. 

Two things are to be noted in this connection. 
First, absence of the reality from the mind does 
not destroy that reality; it only makes it unreal 
to the one who is not thinking about it makes 
it, to him, as unreal as though it did not exist. 
Second, presence of the unreality in the mind 
does not make it a reality. It is real only to the 
thinker; but, being real to him, its effects on him 
are the same as though it were indeed a reality. 
It is a well-known fact that a man who thought 
he was bleeding to death died from the thought, 
though he had not lost a drop of blood ; and there 
are thousands of similar unnoted and unrecorded 
instances. 

The practice of substituting one thought for 
another is admirable and is not to be abandoned 
until something better can be done, but destruc- 
tion of the discordant thought would be a far more 



DESTRUCTION OF DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 14! 

effectual method. The exclusion of a thought 
from the mind is, for the thinker, its destruction 
while it is excluded; and its continuous exclusion, 
so that it should never return, would be its com- 
plete destruction for him. This is the supreme 
result of constant practice in the exclusion of erro- 
neous or discordant thoughts. If it is an erroneous 
thought, or a thought of error, the error is thus 
for him literally and completely destroyed. If 
the whole world would thus exclude the erroneous 
thought, it would no longer have any existence. 

The correctness of this statement is more readily 
perceived in those cases which concern an erro- 
neous belief in the existence of something which 
is easily recognizable as non-existent, such as 
the supposed falsity of a friend who is not false. 
While that falsity is a fact to the one who thoroughly 
believes it, still its destruction is complete the 
instant the thought is dropped out of mind, and 
if the thought is dropped forever, then the destruc- 
tion is forever. The same thing is true of the 
fear of an impending disaster which will never 
occur. Such fear can be so completely dismissed 
from the mind that it is utterly destroyed. It is 
the same with all erroneous thoughts. 

The two methods of substitution and destruction 



142 RIGHT AND WBONG THINKING 

work together; substitution sustaining and assist- 
ing the work, and, if persisted in, finally resulting 
in total obliteration of the objectionable thoughts. 
Some one has truly said that more than nine- 
tenths of the ills of life are occasioned by anxiety 
(thinking) about events that never happen. 
Neither the things nor the anxiety exist except 
in thought. Then if that thought is put out of 
mind, or destroyed, those ills disappear forever. 
They are destroyed. 1 

Though it is only a thought that is destroyed, yet 
in that thought exists a cause ; and let it not be for- 
gotten that every discordant thought is the cause of 
discordant mental and bodily conditions, and the 
cause being destroyed, the consequences do not ap- 
pear, so that literally the destruction of discordant 
\or erroneous thinking is the destruction of the pos- 
sibility of wrong conditions. The man who quits 
lying can do nothing else but tell the truth; so, too, 

1 The saddest fact in the world is sin, however it may be ac- 
counted for. But here is a method whereby it may be destroyed, 
and this is the method of Jesus, the Christ. (See last chapter.) 
He would have us put all error (and that includes all sin) out of 
the mind completely. To do this is the essential of forgiveness, 
because to forgive means to put away; and when we have put away 
from ourselves (by putting them out of mind) our own errors and 
the errors of others, they will not any longer exist to trouble us. 
When every one does this, there will no longer be any sin. 



DESTRUCTION OF DISCORDANT THOUGHTS 143 

he who destroys the discordant thoughts cannot do 
otherwise than think harmonious ones, and the 
destruction of all discordant thoughts would leave 
in existence only those which are harmonious. 
This would result in the production of none but 
harmonious actions and the establishment of har- 
monious conditions without any discordant ones 
to interfere. This is the grand ultimate object. It 
can be attained through mental control, and thus 
men may rid themselves of more of the ills of life 
and gain more of its advantages than one who has 
not tried it would believe possible. 



xrx 

SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 

WHILE avoiding Scylla the ancient Grecian 
mariner had to beware lest he wreck on Charybdis. 
In the attempt to avoid certain discordant thoughts 
one must beware lest he fall into indulgence in others 
of similar character which may arise in connection 
with the effort. 

It will be strange if disturbing thoughts do not 
sometimes present themselves, but mental disquiet 
of any kind must not for any reason be allowed in 
any part of the process. That discouragement 
which comes from occasional or even frequent fail- 
ure must be dismissed as promptly as were the first 
discordant thoughts; neither must it be recognized 
as failure, but only as an incident in a process which 
will terminate in success. Thus will be established 
more securely and easily the habit which probably 
was more than half formed when the discouragement 
arose. 

Along with the sense of disappointment and regret 



SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 145 

at temporary or incidental failure, and suggested by 
it, is quite likely to come self-condemnation, and this 
may be followed by grief, anxiety, discouragement, 
and even despair. They never assist in the least; 
they always hinder. It is not necessary to blame 
one's self in order to correct an error which has been 
made. No man is helped to be better by grieving 
over the things he has done. Getting rid of one evil 
is no advantage if another quite as bad is allowed to 
arise in its place. 

Ruskin states one side of the case correctly, clearly, 
and strongly when he says: "Do not think of your, 
faults ; still less of others' faults ; in every person 
that comes near you look for what is good and strong ; 
1 honor that, rejoice in it ; and, as you can, try to imi- 
\ tate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leaves 
' when their time comes." 

A sense of the responsibility or of the burden of 
the work should not be allowed in connection with 
the attempt to exclude discordant thinking, nor 
should there be any vestige of a thought of anxiety 
lest the ejected thought return to create another 
state of mental disquiet. If these are allowed, the 
second state of that man will be worse than the first, 
because he will be weighed down by two kinds of 
erroneous thinking instead of one. Even though 



146 MGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

be may have successfully banished one set of thoughts 
of which he wished to rid himself, he will find that 
he has enslaved himself to another group as bad as 
the first. To allow such thoughts to spring up 
alongside the attempt to weed out others is not 
to clear the field of discordant thinking, but to change 
from one set of intruders to another ; or, worse than 
that, to introduce another set, and this is the exact 
reverse of the object aimed at. Npone thought of 
the discordant class should be admitted any more 



than another, and there is no more reason or justi- 
fication for harboring one than another; still less 
is there any reason for allowing two. So far as any 
one of them is allowed it defeats mental control and 
its advantages just as effectually as would the con.- 
tinuance of the original erroneous thoughts. 

In the beginning of this mental training strenuous 
effort may seem unavoidable, but with persistent 
practice better mental conditions will be established, 
so that in most cases the change of thinking may be 
accomplished without appreciable effort. From the 
very first the thought that there may be any necessity 
for such effort should be banished as far as possible, 
because it induces more or less dread of the under- 
taking and doubt of its success. Consciousnessjof 
effort detracts from the ideal of the perfect action, 



SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS 147 

and complete success is not reached until the change 
of thought can be made without it. 

The desired object may be accomplished thor- 
oughly by entering into that perfect mental freedom 
which arises from such exclusive devotion to the 
work of the moment as to shut out all other con- 
siderations, and to leave all the time and strength 

VVHflHWA"'V^ - ---_..!.. -j 111 i ji 

for the business in hand. Indeed, this work when 
rightly done is done so quickly in each succeeding 
experience that there is neither time nor opportunity 
for any other disturbing mental conditions than 
those to which the effort was first directed. All this 
may be accomplished without any diminution of 
activity or energy ; instead there will be an increase 
of effectiveness hi all right directions. 



XX 

MORAL DISCRIMINATION 

To stop thinking discordant thoughts does not 
necessitate change of former conclusions as to the 
kind, character, quality, or conditions of any subject 
under consideration; these should remain undis- 
turbed unless sufficient reasons appear for making a 
change. A man may refrain from striking the person 
he hates without changing his opinion of that man's 
character ; and in like manner m^iy, refrain /f??[P 
angry or otherwise discordant thinking without at- 
tempting to persuade himself that the other person 
is praiseworthy. 

One is not in the least aided, but rather is he hin- 
dered, in his attempts toward harmonious thinking 
by calling black white, bad good, wrong right, or in 
any way trying to persuade himself into an incorrect 
opinion. Such a course would falsify and degrade 
one's standard of right, and that must necessarily 
always be a serious disadvantage. It is lying to 
himself, because even while he says an enemy is a 

148 



MORAL DISCRIMINATION 149 

friend he knows he is not ; and though all lying is 

wrong, if there is any difference at all,, it is worse to 
fie to one's self than to any one else. 

The search for the good in everything should not 
be degraded into an attempt to see everything as 
good or to think that bad is good. Such a course 
would confuse the judgment as to what is good and 
what is not good. There is already too much of that. 
All ideas on these subjects should be kept as clear, 
positive, and distinct as possible; and the line of 
demarcation between the two should always remain 
undisturbed. Good is good and bad is bad whatever 
may be said or thought about them. If the bad 
presents itself, it should be recognized, understood, 
and known in its true character so as to be avoided ; 
but this may be done without discordant thinking 
of any kind whatever, and with the conscious cer- 
tainty that the good is close at hand. 

One can never afford to think that bad is good, nor 
that his own defect is desirable, nor that his mis- 
fortune is in itself an advantage ; neither of them is 
ever a necessity, not even to teach lessons, because 
if one's understanding is sufficient, he may learn the 
lesson beforehand, and that will enable him to avoid 
the adverse circumstances. Every one should stop 
condemning the bad man, should stop being angry at 



150 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

the ill turn his friend has done him, should stop his 
regret for the misfortune which overtook him, and 
stop self-condemnation because of his own defect 
should, in fact, stop all discordant thinking about 
anything and everything and he may do all this 
without any change of his opinion about the object, 
the person, or the affair. When this is done, he can 
look at any and all things justly and fairly, see them 
as they are, learn all that is to be learned about them, 
arrive at correct conclusions, decide what is right or 
advisable to do under the circumstances, and then 
act upon his decision. 

The true character of every error or mistake which 
one may make should be correctly understood and 
properly appreciated ; but this can be accomplished 
better and with more clearness, certainty, and ac- 
curacy without discordant thinking than with it. 
Avoidance of such thoughts does not imply avoidance 
of a correct understanding of the rightful value and 
character of the things with. which one has come in 
contact. The instant which has passed, the mistake 
which has been made, the sin which has been com- 
mitted all these things should be divested of every 
gloss of circumstance and of every fictitious appear- 
ance, and then they should be studied carefully and 
exhaustively so that they may be correctly under- 



MORAL DISCRIMINATION !$! 

stood as they really are, to the end that in the future 
they may be more easily avoided. This is reason- 
able and practical, and conduct is thus more wisely 
directed and becomes vastly more efficient. 

There need not be any fear that those who per- 
sistently attempt to exclude discordant thinking will 
lose their recognition of the difference between right 
and wrong because of such exclusion. On the con- 
trary, the mental training here proposed will bring a 
keener perception of those differences because the 
practice of discrimination between the erroneous 
and discordant on the one hand, and the true and 
harmonious on the other, is necessary to successful 
prosecution of the work. Indeed, no correct action 
can be taken under the rule without more or less of 
such discrimination; and, as a necessary result of 
the exercise of such discrimination, one must become 
possessed of an increased keenness and accuracy of 
discernment, and therefore of judgment, as to the 
true character of his thoughts and acts as well as a 
clearer insight into the moral qualities of his thinking. 
These desirable conditions will steadily increase as 
he progresses. He will come to understand clearly 
where before he doubted. Some things which! 

I before were accepted as right will be questioned! 
until, finally, they will be better understood ancU 



152 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

consequently rejected as wrong; and other things 
which were once thought to be wrong may later be 
found to be right. To one desiring to know what is 
right (and every one in his best moments does) this 
method will be most valuable. 

In pursuing this course will be found an exem- 
plification of Jesus' declaration: "Whosoever will 
do [chooses to do] His [God's] will, shall know of 
the doctrine [teaching]." The same thought 
changed into different words might read: Who- 
soever really and earnestly chooses to do right and 
perseveres in doing it shall learn how. 



XXI 

A LITTLE ANALYSIS AND ITS 
APPLICATION 

PERHAPS more often than otherwise discordant 
thinking is provoked by some incident, condition, 
or thing external to one's self. The connection in 
the mind between thoughts and their causes is very 
close, but there are two kinds of these thoughts, 
those which are simply thoughts about the occur- 
rence without any quality of discord whatever, and 
those which are also thoughts about the occurrence 
but which are discordant in their character. These 
are entirely distinct, therefore dismissal of the dis- 
cordant thoughts does not necessitate dismissal of 
all thought connected with an incident any more 
than throwing out the decayed fruit necessitates 
throwing out the perfect fruit also. 

So complicated has become the ordinary life of 
to-day that very little of our thinking is simple. 
Analysis shows that all our thoughts are more or less 
complex, being made up by the union of a multitude 



154 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

of elements, each with its distinct characteristics. 
These may run along together in seemingly inextri- 
cable union, yet they are distinct and do not in the 
slightest depend upon each other for existence. 
Such of these elements as are discordant may be 
wholly excluded from the mind without any inter- 
ference with the others and without any loss of 
efficiency either in thinking or in acting, but with a 
decided advantage to both. 

This does not mean that the objects, duties, and 
requirements from which discordant thoughts seem 
to spring are to be abandoned, nor that a person is 
to stop thinking about them ; it only means that one 
should eliminate the discordant thoughts which may 
arise in connection with them. There is a wide 
difference between thinking about an object or 
occurrence in a harmonious manner, as one ought, 
and thinking discordantly, as one ought not. 

These two kinds of thinking run so close alongside 
each other that in the prosecution of mental control 
it sometimes appears necessary to stop all thinking 
about the provoking cause. In earlier attempts 
this method is often the best and most successful. 
If all thinking about the subject is put out of mind 
for a little time, one will find that later he can enter 
upon a full consideration of it without introducing 



A LITTLE ANALYSIS AND ITS APPLICATION 155 

any discordant mental conditions whatever, and the 
proper consideration of the subject can then be 
undertaken with a good prospect of arriving at 
correct results. 

It is only after all such thoughts have been swept 
away that the mind is prepared for a keen, just, and 
fair examination of the situation; the whole field 
can then be clearly surveyed, and the best possible 
decision made concerning the conditions and the 
course to be pursued in connection with them. 

A person's friend may have acted improperly 
toward him, and he may recognize that he is himself 
stirred by it to anger, regret, grief, or some other 
kind of discordant thinking. This should be dis- 
missed without a moment's hesitation. Every one 
has experienced the physical sensations which suc- 
ceed such thinking, and this dismissal should be so 
instantaneous and so complete that no "feeling" 
will follow the recognition of the incident. Mere 
mental attention to this discordant "feeling" dis- 
turbs the current of harmonious thinking even if 
there were nothing else to interfere. 

When the discordant thoughts are completely 
excluded, one can make an accurate investigation of 
the incident. How did it happen? What was the 
cause? Who was to blame? Had he himself done 



156 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

anything to provoke his friend to such a course? 
What is right and therefore best to do under the cir- 
cumstances? These and many other questions will 
present themselves for decision, but not one of them 
should be allowed to provoke any mental discord, 
because, just in proportion to its intensity would that 
discord inevitably tend toward inaccuracy of think- 
ing and consequent erroneous conclusions; but in 
its absence one may judge coolly and calmly and act 
wisely. 

Avoidance of discordant thinking does not mean 
neglect of any duty nor shirking of any right under- 
taking. On the contrary, it means more vigorous 
and efficient activity in the discharge of every right 
duty or obligation and more complete and effective 
accomplishment of every right object. It means 
removal of a large class of serious mental and physi- 
cal hindrances to activity and efficiency. It means 
avoidance of all the physical discords and discomforts 
which are brought upon one's self by the useless 
impediments produced by discordant thinking. It 
means dispensing with the useless and injurious in 
order that there may be more time and energy for 
the beneficial and valuable. To cease such thinking 
will leave mind and body clear, strong, able, and ready 
to do more and better work along all right lines. 



A LITTLE ANALYSIS AND ITS APPLICATION 157 

We look upon the evils of to-day and are more or 
iess disturbed by them, and the more closely they arc 
related to us the more considerable is our discordant 
thinking and consequent discordant and injurious 
emotion. We look upon the evils of a past century 
and learn all the circumstances connected with them 
with only a mild wave of discord. As we walk we ^ 
/note the obstacle in the path, perhaps with regret, 
or anger, or condemnation of the man who placed 
it there, perhaps even with despair at our inability 
to pass it ; or, we may so control ourselves that we 
do not have the slightest mental disquiet, and, be- 
cause of the absence of that discord, we find our way , 
\past it all the more readily. We may so train our 
thinking that finally, by habit thoroughly established, \ 
we shall have no more discordant thoughts about 
any event than we have about those which happened 
thousands of years ago, or about those of the present 
time which do not in the slightest concern us. 

One ought not to consider his mental training 
complete until he can, with entire equanimity, meet 
all incidents which affect him personally and can 
consider them carefully with entire freedom from 
any discordant thinking or feeling. 



xxn 

HABIT 

THERE has long been a tendency among moralists 
to decry habit, perhaps because their attention has 
been directed more frequently toward bad habits 
than good ones, or they may have been more inter- 
ested in destroying bad habits than in creating good 
ones. The popular idea of the preponderance of 
evil habits has also come, in part at least, from the 
undue magnitude which evil has been allowed to 
assume in the human mind, and from the consequent 
belief that habit turns more largely toward evil than 
toward good. This may be a relic of the " religious " 
idea formerly so carefully cultivated by a consider- 
able class of teachers of morality, and therefore 
widely believed, that man is totally depraved and as 
"prone to do evil as the sparks to fly upward." 
Centuries ago Ovid wrote: 

a 111 habits gather by unseen degrees, 
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.* 

This statement has the disadvantage of being 
negative in character, thereby suggesting those dis- 



HABIT 159 

cordant thoughts which arise from doubts about 
successfully overcoming an increasing evil; but 
there is another and far more desirable view of this 
subject which has the great advantage of being cor- 
rect as well as encouraging. 

Habit is the result of the natural tendency of the ' 
mind to persist in doing those things which it has 
many times been set to do. A new action is often 
accomplished slowly and with difficulty, but repeti- 
tion results in greater facility, and it may be con- 
tinued until at last it is performed without conscious ' 
effort or attention and without the exercise of any 
volition beyond the choice to begin. This is the 
origin of a majority, some say of all those actions 
which are looked upon as reflex or automatic and 
which seem to occur independently of any mental 
action whatever; and in this way any action re- 
peatedly performed may finally become reflex or 
automatic. This being the case, the door is open 
whereby a man can control not only his conscious 
thinking, but by the control and creation of habit 
may also create and control that thinking of which 
he is not conscious. 

The action of the piano player is an excellent 
illustration of the way habit works for us. So is the 
incident of that musician who was stricken with 



\6O RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

epilepsy in the midst of his orchestral performance, 
but who continued to play accurately to the end. 
He had established the habit by his own long-con- 
tinued efforts. It takes the musician a long time to 
set up this habit, and he considers it well worth the 
effort ; but the end sought in the control of discordant 
thinking is vastly more valuable than the musical 
accomplishment, however desirable that may be. 

Habit works with Absolute impartiality ; for good 
with the same facility and effectiveness that it does 
for evil ; for right thinking just as powerfully as for 
wrong thinking ; and the increasing momentum and 
power of a good action repeated is just as great as 
that of a bad one. One may easily control the initial 
idea either to emphasize and repeat it or to avoid it. 
If a person persistently does that, the tendency, 
whatever it may be, whether inherited or otherwise 
acquired, and however firmly intrenched, can be 
modified or destroyed. By constant repetition the 
habit of avoiding discordant thinking may be estab- 
lished just as firmly as any other, and with no more 
effort, for habit, good or bad, is only action oft 
repeated. 

If one refuses to allow discordant thoughts to con- 
tinue, stopping them every time he is conscious of 
them, the habit will finally be so confirmed that 



HABIT l6l 

whenever the objectionable thought is presented, 
the mind will of itself automatically refuse to enter- 
tain it; and this, too, without any conscious atten- 
tion from the person, just as the musician presses the 
keys of his instrument without the least recognition 
of the thinking which produces the motion. By 
habit the mind will persist in not doing whatever it 
has been trained not to do with the same readiness 
and ease which it manifests in doing the things it has 
been trained to do. Thus, this habit may be so culti- 
vated that when any suggestions of discordant think- 
ing arise they will "stop themselves." To establish \ 
any habit the action of the mind only needs to be 
given the right direction by continuous repetition, 
but it is all-important that the obtruding thought \ 
should be banished every time and on the instant 
that it appears. Man should understand this fact, 
be encouraged by it, and take advantage of it. 

An immense proportion of our good actions are 
habitual, arid that is as it should be. Professor 
James says: "The fact is that our virtues are habits 
as much as our vices." We should establish the ! 
habit of good, useful, and virtuous actions as soon as 
possible by setting up correct habits of thinking. 

When Ovid's couplet is reversed it is as true as 
when it is read in the way he wrote it; and in its 



1 62 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

modified form it has the advantages of being just as 
accurate as in its original form and also of giving 
vastly more encouragement to those who are striving 
to establish better mental conditions for themselves : 

" Good habits gather by unseen degrees, 
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas/' 



xxm 

THE RELATION OF THINKING TO 
HEALTH 

THE relation of thinking to every bodily action 
from the smallest to the greatest is that of cause to 
effect, therefore the same is true of the relation of 
thinking to health and disease. Harmonious think- 
ing is the cause ; healthJis the, effect. Discordant 
thinking is the cause; disease is the effect. Each 
person has built as he would; each person may 
build as he will. 

This becomes broadly apparent if the statement of 
President Hall be accepted, that there is no change 
of thought without a change of muscle. Still more 
clearly does this appear in Professor James's declara- 
tion that mental states always lead to changes in 
breathing, general muscular tension, circulation, 
and glandular or other visceral activity. These 
point directly to the statement by Professor Gates 
that anger, jealousy, hate, or any malevolent think- 
ing causes the secretion in the system of various 

63 



164 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

injurious substances, including poisons. The cir- 
culation of the blood and all other bodily functions 
are interfered with by passion or emotion. Laughtei 
and tears are physical conditions involving changes 
of muscles and of glandular secretions, and their 
causes are purely mental. The same is true. in all 
bodily conditions. 

But, objects one, I did not think of a headache, 
yet I woke with it in the morning. Very true. 
Neither did the thief think of stealing when he began 
to wish for his neighbor's property; nor did the 
mother, weeping over her lost son, think of shedding 
tears ; nor did the man in a convulsive fit of laughter 
plan to laugh. Had there been no thought of the 
ludicrous, there would have been no laughter. Had 
there been no thought of grief in the mother's mind, 
there would have been no tears. Had there been 
no desire for what was another's, there would have 
been no stealing; and had there been no discordant 
thought, there would have been no headache. 

Professor Gates's experiments show the direct in- 
fluence of thinking upon the health. He found that 
anger produced a brownish substance which ap- 
peared in the breath. He continued his experiments 
until henacT obtained enough of that substance so 
that he could give it to men and animals as medicine 



THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH 165 

B administered. In every case it produced nervous 
excitability or irritability. In his experiments with 
another kind of thinking he obtained another sub- 
stance from the breath which he injected in the veins 
of a guinea-pig, and the pig died in a very few minutes. 
After saying that hate is accompanied by the greatest 
expenditure of vital energy, he enumerates several 
of its chemical products, all poisonous, and concludes 
by saying: "Enough would be eliminated in one 
hour of intense hate, by a man of average strength, 
to cause the death of perhaps fourscore persons, as 
these ptomaines are the deadliest poisons known to 
science." 

He experimented with two young ladies. They 
were first tested in various ways to ascertain their 
general condition. One was then required to make 
a list of all the delightful, pleasant, enjoyable, or 
fortunate incidents in her life. The other made a 
list of all the events of a directly opposite kind in her 
life. He kept each thinking upon her own list as 
continuously as possible for thirty days, and then 
they were tested in the same manner as at the begin- 
ning. The first had gained most remarkably, while 
the second lost in nearly the same proportion. 

JUMDodily actions and conditions, whether in- 
tended or not, are consequences of thinking, and 



l66 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

since disease is a bodily action or condition, the nfte 
holds good for all diseases. Thoughts of grief, 
regret, anxiety, or fear which follow bad news often 
find their physical consequence in a disturbance of 
the nerves of the stomach ; and, in exact proportion 
to the intensity of these thoughts, they bring about; 
such a disordered condition of that organ as to im4 
pair or even suspend digestion. We say, "It struck 
to the stomach." This expression is figurative, but 
accurate ; and nearly every one has had a similar 
experience. If we examine ourselves, we find that 
"it" was a thought or a group of thoughts. The 
disturbed condition of the stomach caused by "it" 
varies with the variation of the other attendant 
mental and physical conditions. The disordered 
stomach may affect the head, causing dizziness or 
headache, or it may disturb the optic nerve so as to 
cause dimness of vision, or it may act upon other 
portions of the body in discordant ways, causing 
! debility, weakness, pain, or suffering of many kinds 
and of longer or shorter duration, according to the 

(intensity, continuance, or frequency of the repetition 
of the discordant thinking. 

It is not necessary, as has been asserted by many, 

I that one should think of a special disease in order 

to produce it. On the contrary, disease is seldom 



caused by direct thought of the particular disorder 
which afterward appears, although it may be so 
caused and sometimes is; but discordant thoughts 
of some 'and set the train in motion. Sometimes 

,.IUI...I M " "I""-" 

the train is a long one, with many physical and men- 
tal actions and conditions existing between the initial 
thought and the disease in which the series 
culminates. 

Although the incident which appears to be the 
immediate cause of the disease may be purely physi- 
cal in character, yet that incident must itself have 
had its cause which, if sought, will at last be found 
in some mental action or condition. Too small or 
improperly shaped shoes may be worn until the feet 
become distorted, diseased, and painful, and this 
will change the whole attitude and action of the 
person. When the shoes were selected, this result 
was not thought of, least of all was it intended. It 
may be said that the cause of this suffering was 
purely physical, yet certain ideas regarding the size 
and appearance of the shoes governed their selection, 
and, causing that, caused all that followed, including 
the suffering. Thus, the origin of it all was thinking, 
even though remote from its consequences to the 
health. Sometimes diseases of maturity and old age 
may be clearly traced to some thinking of childhood 



l68 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

or youth which had long disappeared from the con- 
sciousness of the person. 

History is full of illustrations of diseases directly 
caused by mental conditions, many of them noted 
in the records of the medical profession. Dr. John 
Hunter, the great English surgeon, suffered from 
disease of the heart which he himself ascribed to his 
fear of having contracted hydrophobia when dis- 
secting the body of a patient ; and it is said that his 
own death was the result of a fit of anger. 

Although it is possible that in some instances there 
may be such a combination of known circumstances 
with known thinking as to show beyond question 
that a particular disease was the result of some 
special kind of thinking, yet it does not necessarily 
follow that this disease is always the result of this 
particular thinking, nor that this thinking always 
produces this particular disease. We do not know 
anything about the unnoticed or subconscious think- 
ing and not very much about that which is undi- 
rected ; that is, we do not know anything of the spe- 
cific character of some of the causes, and of others 
very little, consequently our knowledge is too in- 
sufficient to enable us to draw special conclusions 
which shall necessarily be correct. 

It may be beyond question that a certain headache 



THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH 169 

was caused by anger, but it does not necessarily fol- 
low that every headache has anger for its cause, nor 
even that anger causes headache in a majority of 
cases. There are more than a score of other mental 
conditions which might result in headache, and there 
is a large number of physical conditions besides 
headache which may be caused by anger. Hence, it 
is not possible to demonstrate that any given disease 
is always produced by some one particular kind of 
thinking. 

This is illustrated by the fact that one man turns 
pale from anger while another flushes. In one of 
these cases the blood is sent away from the surface 
by the same mental action which in the other sends 
it to the surface. That the blood may take these 
opposite directions in two different persons under 
the impulse of the same kind of thinking indicates 
clearly the erroneousness of singling out any one par- ; 
ticular set of discordant thoughts as the cause of any 
special infirmity. The attempt to banish certain 
thoughts for the purpose of securing immunity from 
a particular disease might be successful in eradicating 
the disease in one person, but it might not have that 
effect in another. The whole brood of discordant I 
thoughts should be banished, and the eradication of / 
any erroneous thought will be followed by good 



1 70 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

results even if it does not terminate the particular 
disease in question. 

To stop wrong or discordant thinking for the pur- 
pose of securing good health is not the highest motive* 
The moral considerations are the primal and most 
important reasons for doing it, but to do it for reasons 
of health is better than to continue the wrong think- 
ing, and physical health is greatly to be desired. The 
destruction of all wrong thoughts would eradicate all 
disease as well as all erroneous actions, and would 
purify the whole man. 

The principles under consideration clearly ex- 
plain the cause of relapse, or the recurrence of a 
disease once cured. If the healing is followed by 
the requisite change in the mental habits of the per- 
son cured, that is, by the avoidance and eradication 
of the thinking which caused the disease, then it will 
not return. If there is no change in these habits, the 
thinking which produced the disease in the first place 
will produce it again. This explains why Jesus told 
persons whom he had healed to go and sin no more. 1 
It also explains why he told his disciples both to heal 

1 The Greek word in this place translated " sin " might have 
been translated " err " with equal faithfulness to its meaning. This 
brings the subject into the broader and more general domain of 
error and also lighten* the condemnation for those whom he 
addressed. 



THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH Ijl 

and to preach. Instruction (preaching) should 
accompany every case ofTiealing so that the cause 
may be avoided in the future and then, of course, 
there will be no recurrence of the disease. 

But some one asks about those diseases which were 
caused by physical excess; are they also results of 
thinking? The answer is that they are, either 
directly or indirectly, because every excess has for 
its cause, back of all else, some mental action or con- 
dition. This might have been changed in its be- 
ginning or in its course, and then the consequences 
would have been different. Delirium tremens fol- 
lows, excessive use of alcoholic stimulants. It may 
be claimed that drinking was the cause, and so it 
was ; but the drinking was itself the result of think- 
ing and would not have occurred had the~mah 
ceased thinking those thoughts which led to it. 

The condition is not changed even if drunkenness 
is the consequence of heredity, or inherited tenden- 
cies. In that case the series of thoughts and cir- 
cumstances is merely lengthened by removing the 
causative thinking farther away from the resultant 
disease. Those inherited tendencies were the re- 
sults of ancestral thoughts and consequent actions. 
If the ancestor had avoided those thoughts he would 
not have bequeathed "the legacy of damnation" to 



172 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

his children. Yet, even when such an inherited 

7 WM*>MM0* 

tendency exists, because thinking caused it rigid 

MBMWV> &MVMqM^ HI *pMMMMMMMM*l'***HMMBHHMaHHMH^4BK 

control of one's own thinking^ will destroy it. Such 
conditions may require greater effort than in most 
other cases, but sufficient effort is possible, and if it 
is continued steadily and firmly, the final triumph is 
certain. 

The incipient causes of those physical conditions 
which are occasioned by accidents will always be 
found in thinking, or in lack of thinking, which is in 
the same domain. A man falls and breaks an arm ' 
because he is thinking of something else than his 
footsteps. The defective building falls and crushes 
the occupants because the builder was thinking of 
the greater gain he might make by less careful con- 
struction or by the use of defective or cheaper mate- 
rials. The railroad wreck was the result of a mis- 
placed switch, and this in turn was caused by lack 
of the attention of the switchman who thought the 
train had passed, or that it was not due* And so on 
through the entire chapter. When followed to their 
ultimates, however much accidents may at first 
appear to result from wholly physical causes, yet 
mind and its action will at last be found to have been 
their occasion in every instance. Even in a wider 
and deeper way than all this, the very possibility of 



THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH 173 

breaking the bone or crushing the limb may be the 
result of the habitual thought that the race has enter- 
tained from time immemorial. 

The catalogue of the diseases of immorality is a 
very long one, and every day careful observers in the 
medical profession are adding other names not here- 
tofore suspected of belonging in that list. Thinking 
is always the beginning of immorality, and therefore 
thinking is the ultimate cause of all those diseases 
occasioned by it. Immorality merely intervenes 
between the thinking and the disease. JfflmjoraJ 
thoughts cannot be^indulged ^in_ without^ producing )J 
their mental and physical consequences. They not 
only have their evil results in the disturbed or 
diseased physical system, but they write their record 
where it may be read by all men. 

Those who recognize the causative character of 
thinking sometimes say that all sickness is the result 
of s'ii. While it is true that all sickness is the result 
of c-rror, it is also true that not all error is sin. Error 
ari-.es out of not knowing, and that is ignorance; 
but though ignorance may be reckoned as erroneous, 
it could hardly be classed as sinful. It is therefore 
cruel, and very often unjust, to charge those who are 
suffering from physical infirmity with being sinners. 
This is condemnation, and all condemnation is to be 



174 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

avoided because it is discordant; but, more than 
that, in this place the condemnation may be mis- 
placed and wholly undeserved. If the good man 
'who is sick only knew that wrong thinking is as bad 
as wrong actions, he would stop his discordant think- 
ing as effectually as he checked his erroneous actions. 
He may be ill because of ignorance and error, but not 
necessarily because of sin. Self-control, through 
control of the thinking, may be the healing of every 
conscientious person who has hitherto controlled his 
actions, but who has only repressed his thinking. 

Herein may be seen the reason why so many per- 
sons are afflicted with disease even though their 
"daily walk and conduct" is above reproach. The 
good man who is always ailing may persistently keep 
his discordant thoughts in mind but conceal them. 
He knows he ought not to injure his neighbor, yet, 
because of his ideas about what is right, he may 
think it is his duty to condemn and despise him in 
his heart. By sheer force of will such men control 
the tongue, the hand, and all outward actions, but 
leave the cause which would otherwise produce those 
actions to prey unchecked and uncontrolled upon 
themselves. 

Discordant thoughts when repressed, like the fire 
that is smothered but not extinguished, rankle within 

. f*WMMMMMMMMMttM^i>lM>4AMMM^BH _ . .... 



THE RELATION OF THINKING TO HEALTH 17$ 

all the more fiercely for their restraint, straining and 
torturing the nerves, preventing the normal and 
rightful glandular and visceral activity, ruining the 
muscles, sapping the strength of the bones, generat- 
ing those harmful secretions which create every 
variety of disease and infirmity, burning the man 
with fevers, freezing him with chills, starving him 
with dyspepsia, and poisoning him with their 
injurious chemical products. 

Repressed thoughts are all the time striving for 
expression or outlet in some form of physical activity ; 
and, therefore, throughout their whole duration, 
there exists the necessity for the counter-effort in 
greater degree in order to keep the body in check. 
The energy necessary to maintain muscular control 
in the repression of discordant mental activity [re- 
quires strenuous and wearying exercise of the will 
which increases the burden and is decidedly injuri- 
ous to body, mind, and morals. None of this energy 
would have been required had the thoughts been 
dropped out of the mind as soon as they appeared. 
Therefore, though a good man may not show it to 
the world, yet all the time he may be ruining his 
health and happiness with his discordant thinking. 

Probably, in addition to all the rest ; the man who 
thus represses his thinking has, in most respects, 



176 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

a high moral standard and a sensitive conscience 
which is outraged by the presence of such thoughts. 

<IHMHMMMMMMMBMMMMMribMMttMHMIMIM l >M* ll ' l ''''^HlMHMMI|^H 

This creates the keen mental discord of regret, self- 
condemnation, grief, and remorse to furnish ad- 
ditional, and equally discordant, and therefore 
equally injurious, mental elements which do their 
work as effectively as any others. Such thoughts 
may remain dormant and unnoticed in the mind for 
years, finally to flash out into expression at some 
unfortunate moment very much to his own surprise 
as well as to the surprise of his friends. Thus, 
difficulty is piled on top of difficulty until it is no 
wonder that such a man, though outwardly good, 
fails to possess healthful vigor and elasticity. The 
wonder is that he lives out half his days, but what 
might he not be if he would only drop discordant 
thinking! 



XXIV 
RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES 

IN all human activities three occurrences follow 
one another in regular order: (i) the external in 
cident; (2) the thinking which follows the incident 
and (3) the bodily action which is caused by the 
thinking, is governed by it, and consequently takes 
its character from it. 1 

Then, since the bodily action is governed by the 
thinking, it is not governed by the circumstance 
which provoked that thinking; and since the char- 
acter of all bodily action is established and controlled 
by the thinking exclusively, therefore it must be the 
same with those conditions known as health and 
disease. This conclusion being correct, then it 
follows that those bodily conditions which are looked 
upon as purely physical are always given their 
character by the thinking. 

Take for illustration a blow on the finger. There 

1 The only exception to this order is in those cases where the 
action originates in the mind itself without any stimulus from an 
external occurrence. 

77 



178 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

are two avenues by which the blow comes into the 
mental consciousness. One is along the nerve of 
transmission through the hand, up the arm and neck 
into the brain. The other is by the more direct 
way of the light vibrations from the finger to the 
optic nerve in the eye and thence along that nerve 
to the brain. This last route is shorter than the 
other, and the larger part of the distance is by a 
method vastly more rapid than the nerves afford. 
Hence, the "message" arrives sooner by this route 
than by the first, so that one sees the blow before 
he feels it. 

Between the perception of the blow by way of 
the line of sight and the perception by way of the 
nerve, there is an appreciable instant of time, 
ample in which to think, because thinking is prac- 
tically instantaneous. According to the principles 
here set forth, this thinking decides the character 
of the action which shall follow the blow, and in 
point of fact such is the case. This has been ex- 
perienced by all those who have made careful ob- 
servations of their mental and physical actions under 
such circumstances. If the control of the mind is 
rightly and completely maintained, so that there is 
no discordant thinking preceding and during this 
instant, there will not be any pain. This has been 



RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES 179 

done repeatedly and may be done by any one who 
will control his thinking. 

Similar experiences have occurred not only in 
connection with blows, but also with burns and other 
accidents. There have been numerous cases where 
boiling water has been poured over the hand or 
other part of the body without pain or other ill 
effects. Success in this has been so complete in 
many instances that not only was there no pain> 
but the blister and other usual physical results did 
not follow. This can always be accomplished 
whenever an interval of time exists between the 
two announcements of the incident, provided the 
person is on the alert and has trained himself in 
the control of his thinking. 

These experiences are of the simplest character, 
and, because they are simple, the desirable results 
are more easily accomplished, but they demonstrate 
the accuracy of the general proposition because the 
simple conditions on which they rest are the same 
as those on which rest all bodily actions however 
complicated. From facility in these simpler things 
it is possible, as in any sphere of activity, to advance 
to equally successful management of the more 
complicated and difficult affairs. 

The fact that harmonious thinking during the 



l8o RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

interval controls and gives character to the bodily 
actions is a physical and practical demonstration 
of the principle, because if the thinking has been, as 
usual, discordant, the usual pain will follow. 

The necessity for complete exclusion of every 
variety of discordant thinking is seen in the fact 
that it is not always enough to avoid the discordant 
thinking which is directly connected with the par- 
ticular incident in hand. All discordant thinking 
whatever must be excluded at the time in order to 
gain complete success. One who was thoroughly 
trained in this practice was surprised at failure and 
unable to explain it until he remembered that dis- 
cordant thinking, relating to an entirely different 
subject, had been in his mind at the time. 

Herein lies the possibility of perfect health; it 
needs only that men shall follow the rule. With 
the entire disappearance of those thoughts which 
produce disease, disease itself must disappear, and 
perfect health must follow. 

This proposition is contrary to what has been 
the trend of thought for centuries, and therefore 
many abandon the subject without giving it due 
consideration. Then again, to others the conditions 
seem so simple that they do not see how it is possible 
that such important results should follow such 



RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES l8l 

simple causes; besides, perseverance is necessary 
to success, and few care to persevere. Exclusion 
of all discord is necessary, yet many think little 
things are not worthy the requisite attention and 
effort; and, for lack of that training which they 
might have had through the management of the 
little things, when they are confronted with the 
larger difficulties, they meet discouragement, if not 
failure. However, it still remains true that to at- 
tain to perfect health it is only necessary to stop 
thinking all discordant thoughts. 

The impetuous restlessness of the American 
branch of the English race and the intensity of 
their activity are constantly spurring them on to 
"do something." That is one reason why they 
swallow such enormous quantities of drugs, even 
compelling their physicians to prescribe medicines 
when the physicians themselves are convinced that 
their patients would be better off without them. 
But here is a method of the opposite character. It_ 
does_not require the doing of something, but the 
ceasing to do something not activity, but rest. 
It is not to do, but to stop doing. 

Lao-tsze told his countrymen a half-truth which 
points to a whole truth, even if couched in the nega- 
tive form, when he said: "By non-action there is 



182 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

nothing which may not be done." When righl 
thinking is not interfered with by wrong thinking, 
the right acting will take care of itself. If a man 
ceases to think evil, he will cease to do evil, and 
right will prevail, because there is then not anything 
else for him to do. He who does not think about 
stealing cannot steal. There is wisdom in the 
advice which that old Hebrew prophet gave the 
Israelites in their emergency: "Stand still and see 
[observe] the salvation of the Lord." They were 
not to do the work themselves, but only to stand 
and see it done. God's working is always toward 
the right. The persistent tendency of activity 
throughout all things in nature is toward purifica- 
tion. Stagnant water becomes impure; flowing 
water becomes pure unless impurities are constantly 
added. Even the Chicago drainage canal, bearing 
all the filth of that great city, purifies itself in a few 
miles so that at last even the chemist cannot detect 
any impurities. 

The same is true of the human body. No sooner 
does an atom in the body become useless or injurious 
than, without any conscious attention on the part 
of the person, something goes to work to remove 
that atom from the system. See, in Gates's experi- 
ment, how soon the injurious substance evolved in 



RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES 183 

the body as a consequence of anger was expelled 
through the breath. This is only a single instance 
among a vast multitude. Physiologists tell us that 
some injurious substances appear in the perspiration 
in less than a minute after they are swallowed. So 
strong is this tendency in the human body that when 
the offending object is of such a character that it 
cannot be removed, it often occurs, as in the case of 
a bullet, that a new and entirely distinct process is 
set up, and the object is enclosed by an impervious 
sheath which separates it from the surrounding 
tissues and prevents it from doing any harm to the 
system. 

Even the old biblical writers recognized that the 
iniquities of the fathers are visited upon the children 
only unto the third and fourth generation. 1 So 
great is the natural tendency of all organized life 
toward purity! This universal tendency of all 
nature adds probability to the recognized possibility 
of final absolute purity, and holds out to man an- 
other strong encouragement to aid its accomplish- 
ment by acting in accord with these basic mental 
principles. Both mental and material creation con- 
spires to the same end. If, then, men would stop 
discordant thinking and thereby cease generating 

1 Exodus xx. 5. 



184 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

impurities within themselves, how quickly the 
stream would run clear! 

Why will not men aid this tendency by ceasing 
to plant within themselves the seeds of death and 
disease, and, instead, let their own harmonious 
thinking pour in great fresh streams of purity, 
health, and life ? Even if the iniquities of the fathers 
do continue for three or four generations, they 
must sooner or later disappear as the filth disap- 
pears from the running water, unless other impuri- 
ties are continuously mingled with the stream of 
pure life which God gives to every one. Suffering 
is not the concomitant of life. There is no unavoid- 
able necessity for it. Men are not always to suffer. 
They can, and they ultimately will, put away dis- 
cordant thinking, which is the primal cause of all 
suffering. 

A vision of the possibilities lying inherent in 
these principles makes the old story of the length 
of life before the deluge seem not altogether impos- 
sible. What might not come to man if he would 
let Nature have her own way and would cease pour- 
ing poison into himself in the form of discordant 
thinking? More than that, may there not be some 
additional method whereby man may, by compliance 
with other principles, entirely obviate the necessity 



RECAPITULATION OF PRINCIPLES 185 

of death and thus bring about a realization of the 
prophecy of Paul who says that the last enemy to 
be destroyed is death, thus indicating that death 
shall at last cease? Evidently God did not mean 
that men should be sick. Then He did not mean 
that they should die. Paul and the old prophet 
were right. 1 "Death shall be swallowed up in 
victory." 

1 I Corinthians XT. 54; Isaiah xrv. & 



XXV 
THE WORRY HABIT 

HE who would stop discordant thinking must 
banish from his mind all anxiety for the future and 
"let the dead past bury its dead," for anxiety about 
the future is only another name for worry, and re- 
gret for things done in the past is its twin sister; 
both are distinctly antagonistic to all harmonious 
thinking. 

In the literal meaning of the word there is a strong 
suggestion of the character and attendant conditions 
of the mental state which it designates. One of 
its old Anglo-Saxon ancestors, perhaps a grand- 
parent, was used to indicate harm, while another 
was the name for a wolf, and in Iceland it was the 
name for an accused person. In our own times 
the word in its literalness means to choke, to suffo- 
cate, to bite at or tear with the teeth as dogs do when 
fighting, or when "worrying" rats or other small 
animals. 

Metaphorically the word indicates a mental state 

1 86 



THE WORRY HABIT 187 

fully the equivalent of the physical conditions in- 
cluded in its more literal meaning. In its milder 
phases it is disturbing, harassing, and harmful; 
while with its intenser forms it does indeed seize 
its victim by the throat, as a dog or a wolf might, 
and choke, and suffocate, and tear with its teeth. 
If we were to call worry into our consciousness as a 
person, its aspect would be so terrible that men 
would flee from it in horror. 

The woman who said she "spent half her time 
doing things and the other half worrying because 
she had done them," belongs to a very numerous 
and a very uncomfortable family. To worry over, 
or regret, what is past is like rethreshing old straw. 
Time so spent is worse than wasted, for it does not 
change anything, it occupies valuable time, and no 
form of useful activity drains the life energies as 

, this mental torture does. It robs one of sleep, sours 

; the disposition, warps the judgment, and makes the 

! mind weak and vacillating. 

This is true of every form of anxiety or worry. 
It is a waste of strength, complete destruction of 
peace of mind, and one of the most disturbing ele- 

, ments which can invade a household. One individ- 
ual with the worry habit can poison the atmosphere 
for all with whom he is associated, for mental dis- 



1 88 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

cord is easily communicated, and others are made 
more or less miserable either by discordant sympathy 
or by condemnation. 

Thus the seed is multiplied, for to condemn an- i 
other or to give discordant sympathy by being 
"sorry for him" is to fall into the same kind of an 
error that he himself has committed. This con- I 
tagious thinking should stop in its very beginning. 
That another is mentally disturbed is no excuse for 
one's own discordant thinking, and to yield to such 
an influence injures all concerned. As the weaver's 
shuttle passes from side to side of the loom, so 
thoughts pass from one to another, entangling many 
in their meshes and weaving the web of life in bright- 
\ ness or in gloom according as the thoughts are. 

Anxiety and worry about the future have their | 
1 beginning in uncejtainty and doubt, and these soon 
develop into expectancy^ of evil with manifold visions | 
of things that never happen. Here is the place 
where effort for the destruction of worry should 
begin. For illustration: A friend is on a journey. 
There steals into the mind a thought of uncertainty j 
whether he will reach his destination and return in 
safety. Right here in this doubt is the parting of / 
the ways. This first discordant thought, no matter f ( 
how small, should be instantly dropped out of the 



THE WORRY HABIT 189 

mind as unreservedly as a stone may be dropped out 
of the hand. It can be done more easily right 
here at the outset than at any other point, and 
that will end all the trouble. If, instead of doing 
this, the doubt is allowed to continue and to ex- 
pand, the discordant thoughts will increase to the 
same extent, and the discomfort will be exactly 
proportional. 

Perhaps it occurs to the mind that accidents 
sometimes happen on the road. This thought in- 
creases the mental disturbance until finally the 
picture presents itself of some frightful affair once 
read about, and this is followed by a condition of 
worry which destroys all mental serenity and makes 
life miserable. It is useless to say to the worrier 
that his visions are entirely unreal. Probably he is 
aware of that fact, and yet he makes them as real 
to himself as any event that is passing, and his 
suffering is as actual and as harmful as any suffering. 

This vice, for it is a vice, is so insidious in its 
approach, so positive in its assertions when it has 
once made a lodgement in the mind, and so persistent 
in its hold on its victim, that persuasion or entreaty 
from another is seldom of any avail. It is not 
enough to say to the person obsessed that not one 
traveller in millions is ever injured, nor is it enough 



IQO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

to say that his fears have no foundation save m his 

; 

own imagination, and that he has brought all his 
suffering on himself. Such declarations to the con- 
firmed mental inebriate rouse indignation which 
seriously increases the discord, and he justifies him- 
self by asserting that he cannot help worrying. 

He can help it if he will. By his own act, with 
which another cannot interfere, he can avoid all the 
misery which worrying would bring into his whole 
life, as well as the misery which he may inflict on 
the lives of others. There is no occasion for it out- 
side the victim's own mind. His own thinking and 
that alone creates the disturbance, it has no exist- 
ence outside of his own thinking, and a change of 
his thinking can destroy it. 

Not all at once can he do this, perhaps, but he 
! can do it by persistent endeavor. Back at the part- 
ing of the ways, when the thought of uncertainty 
first entered his mind, he might have given his 
thinking a healthy and harmonious direction by 
stopping the discordant thoughts which had been 
suggested by uncertainty and clpubt. 

He may not have noticed the little thought which 
began the series, or if he did, he probably considered 
it too trivial to be worthy of any attention, still 
less of any effort; yet it was just the kind of thinking 



THE WORRY HABIT 19! 

which ought always to be terminated on the instant. 
To do that is all that is needed; and that done, the 
terrors which a fertile imagination might conjure 
up will never present themselves. It matters not 
whether it is worry about future possibilities or 
anxiety over things which have passed; at its very 
beginning is the place to assert one's right to be 
"kept in perfect peace." 

Having decided that he cannot stop worrying, 
the victim makes no further effort, and the habit 
becomes more firmly established with each surrender 
to its wiles and its tortures until he becomes as com- 
pletely subject to its control as any victim is to either 
the morphine or the drink habit. The sense of 
self-pity because his "sympathetic nature" makes 
his sufferings greater than those of others increases 
with the habit, and the mental discord goes on 
generating its poison in its victim beyond the ability 
of his system to expel it, developing finally into some 
sluggish disease. When death follows no one calls 
it suicide, but it surely belongs to that class. 

Worry has killed more people than all the hard 
work that was ever done. Booker Washington very 
correctly and soberly set forth its results in a single 
sentence: "I think I am learning more and more 
each year that all worry consumes, and to no purpose, 



KIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

just so much physical and mental strength that 
otherwise might be given to effective work."' 
Hard work with a peaceful, harmonious mind wili 
never kill any one; and when it is accompanied by 
serenity, hope, and joy, it builds up the system and 
prolongs existence instead of shortening it; but 
' worry kills, and not to stop it is slow but certain 
suicide as well as the destruction of much of the 
joy in the lives of one's best and closest friends. 
The victims all know the discomfort of it, yet in 
many cases their failure to stop the worrying comes 
from disinclination to make the necessary effort. 

Whatever the incident or condition which sets 
the worry thought into activity, the two are as dis- 
tinct as one pebble from another. The incident is 
wholly external to the person. The thinking and 
the thought are entirely within the person. The 
thinker may have no power over the incident, but he 
need not concern himself about that; if he will 
assert himself, he may have complete power over his 
own thinking, to stop it or to allow it to go on. 
/The sooner and the more fully one recognizes that 
. I it is not the incident, but one's own thinking, which 
| ( causes the trouble the better for him, because it 
will make his work of reform far less difficult. His 

1 Up from. Slavery, p. 181. 



THE WORRY HABIT 193 

dominion over his own^thinking may_be absolute, 
therefore he may set in motion a train of thoughts 
entirely distinct from those first suggested by the 
incident, and he may drive away the whole discord- 
ant troop as completely as he would burglars from 
his house or dogs from his sheepfold. 

If one would make a careful and comprehensive 
examination of the circumstances^ which provoke 
discordant thinking, strictly confining himself to 
this examination and excluding all inharmonious 
thoughts, he would gain a knowledge cf its cause 
which would enable him to avoid such thinking 
under all similar circumstances. Such a course 
will also stimulate mental action, will be helpful 
to him in all his relations to external circumstances, 
will be healthful in its action upon his entire system, 
\ generate life-giving products instead of poisonous 
i ones, and will give him strength to fulfil the duties 
of each hour as they arise. Once started in the right 
way, he may go on through his whole life with an 
ever increasing recognition of better possibilities and 
greater powers. 

There are no variations in this course of procedure 
except as the object varies, or as the thinking and 
its duration vary. As in all mental conditions, 
though the victim may have assistance from another, 



194 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

yet the real effort must be made within himseli 
This mental discipline cannot be begun too soon, 
nor can it be exercised upon too insignificant con- 
ditions. As soon as the milder, incipient stages of 
the disease are observed the remedy should be un- 
hesitatingly applied with determination and vigor. 
It should be done in the same way if the disease 
has progressed into the more extreme conditions, 
and one must necessarily be one's own surgeon, 1 
cutting off thejjffending thoughts without the slight- 
est hesitation until, by persistent Repetition of the 
operation, he becomes his own mastgn Instead of 
paralyzing himself with the weak, self-indulgent 
thought that he cannot put out the worry, let him 
dismiss it jis he would an unwelcome intruder into I 
his privacy or an objectionable^ visitor to his home. ,' 
Let him put up a sign over the entrance to his mind, 
"no loafers, beggars, nor thieves allowed here," 
and then relentlessly enforce the prohibition. 

It will take a struggle at first, perhaps a square 
stand-up contest, perhaps a "seven years' war," as 
was that of our Revolution when the colonies won 
their freedom, but it will be worth the effort, however 
great that may be. To the person who excludes 
worry from his mind and destroys the mental habit 
the revolution will be more important than was that 



THE WORRY HABIT 19$ 

war co our nation. It means freedom, comfort, j 
happiness, health, and the prolongation of life. 

This training will do more than enable one to 
banish worry when it tries to invade the mind: it 
will establish such a mental condition that the dis- 
cord will not begin, and the eggs that hatch the vul- 
tures_qf _wqrry_will never be laid. When the knowl- 
edge and practice of this method become universal, 
they will drive out all the "blue devils" that torment _ 
the imagination, exorcise all the "spiritual obses- 
sion" that was ever heard about, and prevent any 
further increase in the population of the insane 
asylums of the world. 



XXVI 
BUSINESS SUCCESS 

AVOIDANCE of discordant thinking is of immense I , 
practical value in business affairs. The man who lj 
gives himself over to disappointment, regret, grief, 
anxiety, worry, or condemnation of himself or 
others, is not doing anything to forward his business, 
but he is consciously or unconsciously cultivating 
a mental condition which will destroy his ability to : 
arrive at correct conclusions and to act upon them 
promptly and efficiently; therefore, he is either 
hindering or misdirecting the operations necessary 
to success, and is wasting his mental and physical 
strength on injurious activity. All discordant think- 
ing should be stopped at once, and that energy which 
has been expended in destructive discord should be 
directed into productive channels. Let him care- 
fully examine the situation, and pse every mental 
effort in making and prosecuting plans for success, 
without allowing for a moment the thought of pos- 
sible defeat to paralyze his energies. This is the 

196 



BUSINESS SUCCESS 197 

advantage held by each one who has previously 
trained himself in the exclusion of discordant think- 
ing. One who has not done this should begin that 
training at once. It all lies with himself, and it is 
never too late to begin. 

Herein is the difference between the man of 
twenty or thirty and the one of fifty. If the older 
man meets reverses, he seldom recovers himself. The 
younger man, full of hope and confidence, but with- 
out experience and ignorant of the difficulties ahead 
of him, does not even expect them, but as one by one 
they appear, fearlessly meets and overcomes them. ' 
The older man has experienced all these difficulties, 
foresees them all, is staggered by his vision of their 
united magnitude, and supinely allows his own dis- 
cordant anticipations to frighten him out of making 
an effort; and yet, except for this, the older man 
has great advantages over the younger because of 
knowledge derived from his larger experience with 
men and things. If the younger man could add to 
his fearlessness the wisdom of the older one, there 
is little that could stand before him; and if the 
older man would divest himself of his doubts, 
and fears, and anxieties, and would use all his 
energy and wisdom in meeting the difficulties 
which he foresees, and which, foreseeing, he can the 



198 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

better cope with, he might snatch a brilliant success 
from the very jaws of defeat. The world laughs at 
the confidence of ignorant youth, but that very 
confidence, which is really the absence of discordant 
anticipations, is in itself one great reason for his 
success. The world may well weep over that 
degeneration in the older person which arises from 
his fear of future dangers and difficulties. The 
younger man overcomes the defects of ignorance by 
his harmonious thinking which is unmodified by 
fear of danger, while the older man, notwithstanding 
his superior wisdom and ability, is defeated by his 
own discordant thinking. 

Herein is a large part of the reason why egotistic 
persons with only a fair share of ability so often 
succeed where others of greater ability fail. Their 
own confidence creates an atmosphere which in- 
spires others with confidence in them and their 
plans, and, therefore, they receive assistance which 
helps them to achieve success where those fail who 
lack that trait. Men often succeed by the very 
impetus of their own self-confidence, that is, by the 
power of their harmonious thoughts and the absence 
of self-distrust and self-condemnation; while others 
with far greater ability signally fail for no reason 
except their own hesitation and fear, born of doubt 



BUSINESS SUCCESS 199 

of themselves. In these two lines of thinking lie 
two important elements of success or failure. There 
is neither necromancy nor other mystery connected 
with it. He who gives up his mind to be preyed 
upon by doubt, fear, and irresolution is inviting his 
own defeat and is himself ministering to it, but he 
who resolutely dismisses all such thoughts is taking 
the necessary first step toward success. 

The man who delivers himself over to discordant 
thinking is doing the same kind of thing, only in a 
different way, that the other person does who 
wastes his time and benumbs his faculties with 
intoxicants. Many a man has sunk into uselessness, 
become a burden to his friends and himself, a blot 
on the name of humanity, solely because he has 
allowed discordant thoughts to have possession of 
his mind. Death and insanity find their causes, 
immediate and remote, in the thinking which men 
have indulged in. 

The man seeking employment, who allows himself 
to be a prey to despair or other discordant thinking, 
unwittingly stamps upon his features and moulds 
into his form and actions peculiarities which those 
who otherwise would desire his services at once 
recognize as reasons for refusing his application. 
But if those thoughts are cut off as an excrescence 



200 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

would be, and if the mind is filled with that hope, 
expectancy, and confidence which come from the 
thought that success is deserved and will be achieved, 
the gait, the attitude, the glance of the eye, the whole 
man become transformed, and success seeks him as 
earnestly as he is seeking success. 

It is related that a boy entered a place of business 
and told the proprietor that his sign, "Boy Wanted," 
had fallen down. "Well," responded the man, 
"why didn't you hang it up again?" "Because 
you don't want one now. I'm the boy you wanted." 
Whether the story is true or not, it illustrates the 
confidence which follows the absence of fear, doubt, 
and their attendant uncertainties, and which is a 
strong element of success. 

It is not enough that the exclusion of discordant 
thinking shall be done only at the moment of necesn. 
sity. It should be the continuous mental habit, the 
result of careful mental training. The stamp of 
any habitual mental condition cannot be entirely 
removed on the instant, but each person may al- 
ways keep his mind in the right condition, and then 
its physical expression will correspond, and there 
will not be the other outward appearances to need 
removal or control. 

Before any man dismisses as "nonsense" this 



BUSINESS SUCCESS 2O1 

theory of business success through correct and har- 
monious thinking, let him analyze his own mental 
habits and compare the results in his business with 
his varying mental conditions. Let him observe on 
which days he has done his best work, with the least 
expenditure of vitality those filled with cheer and 
hope and courage, or those in which doubt and de- 
spondency held sway. On which days have those 
associated with him responded best to his wishes? 
When have things moved most harmoniously? If 
every man will thus get acquainted with himself 
and the results of his own mental attitude, he will 
recognize ample reason why it is no longer good 
business policy to waste his energy and destroy his 
efficiency by discordant thinking. 

But what if failure should come after strict ad- 
herence to this rule of mental control of what 
advantage has it been to him who fails? This is 
his advantage: he remains perfectly poised, his 
judgment clear, his courage undaunted, his faith in 
ultimate success unshaken; he is neither a nervous 
nor a physical wreck, but, instead, is all ready to 
make a new beginning and to profit by his 



xxvn 

UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 

WHAT precedes shows clearly the method for 
securing that undivided attention which is so es- 
sential to success in all kinds of work, whether 
mental or physical. "Mind your business" is a 
wise injunction, even if blunt. It is all embraced 
in the advice to dismiss all thoughts other than 
those which pertain exclusively to that which is in 
hand at the particular moment. 

The accountant who allows his mind to wander 
to other subjects when adding a column of figures 
cannot do his work so rapidly or so accurately as 
the one who shuts out all thoughts except those 
connected with his work. He must cease thinking 
of other things and think only of his addition. It 
must be one thing at a time. The ability to exclude 
one kind of thoughts from the mind enables one to 
exclude any thought, therefore practice in the ex- 
clusion of discordant thoughts will be an efficient 
preparation for success in avoiding all thoughts 

302 



UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 2OJ 

which do not pertain to the work immediately in 
hand. 

When the accountant is in the middle of a long 
column of figures, perhaps his employer asks him 
a question. He should have so trained himself in 
the control of his thinking that on the instant he 
can shut out of his mind all thought of the work he 
was doing when the question was asked, think of 
nothing else but the subject proposed, and answer 
the question as completely as though he had never 
thought of his addition. Then, in its turn, that 
subject, when he is done with it, should be dropped 
out of his mind completely, and he should return to 
the work he was doing when interrupted, with a 
similar exclusion of all else but thoughts of the work 
in hand. 

Such changes should always be accomplished 
without allowing irritation, impatience, anger, or 
other discordant thinking because of the interrup- 
tion. The accountant's time is his employer's, 
his business is to do the work required by his em- 
ployer, and whether his employer chooses to set him 
at one branch of work or another does not concern 
the employee. Many a clerk, because of occurrences 
like this, has habitually allowed some form of irrita- 
tion to take such possession of his mind as to interfere 



204 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

seriously with his mental ability, ruin his efficiency^ 
and destroy his health. This has caused many a 
nervous breakdown which was charged to over- 
work or hard work when its cause was not the work 
at all, but was solely the frequent irritation some- 
thing which the clerk himself might have wholly 
avoided without any change of action on the part of 
his employer. 

What has been said is true of every occupation 
and applies to activities of all kinds. The essential 
condition is that, although nothing may be over- 
looked or omitted, there should be one thing in the 
mind at one time and no more. The mental 
ability to do this can be attained by the practice 
already advocated, and the method can be applied 
to all occupations. 

The attention (attention is thinking) should be 
directed to the one thing that a person is doing to 
the total exclusion of everything else, whether the 
work is simple or complicated. If complicated, the 
attention should be fixed successively on each ele- 
ment of the complication to the exclusion for the 
time of all the others. When the first item of the 
series is completed, let it immediately become a 
thing of the past, because the mind ought to be fully 
and exclusively occupied with the next; and so on 



UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 20$ 

successively, each in its order, omitting none. If 
thoughts of other things besides the work in hand 
are allowed to enter the mind, some point in the 
execution of the work is liable to be overlooked or 
perhaps forgotten entirely. The mind cannot suc- 
cessfully attend to two things at once, for a part of 
the mind can never accomplish as much as the whole, 
and divided attention always causes inefficiency in 
some direction. In mental or physical labor the 
principle is the same, because mental action is at 
the basis of the whole, and therefore the rule is the 
same for both. 

As in the mental so in the physical, it is only 
through successful control of the smaller and more 
minute or apparently insignificant things that abil- 
ity is gained to grapple with the greater or more 
abstract and general affairs. This is because the 
physical action depends on the mental and is caused 
by it. In every walk of life without exception, and 

BlBHH 

in every period of its course, control of the thinking 
is of the greatest value and importance. The 
earlier this control is attained the better, but it^is 
never too late to begin. 

Sometimes an almost unnoticed but continuous 
and persistent undercurrent of some kind of think- 
ing entirely foreign to the work in hand divides and 



206 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

receives more or less of the attention. This may 
appear in any one of a thousand forms, having 
originated in some incident or condition of large 
or small importance which, for some indefinite 
reason or apparently for no reason at all, has fastened 
itself strongly upon the mind. Often this vaguely 
noticed thought is more difficult to exclude from the 
attention than one more consciously present, but 
its presence is a continuous menace to undivided 
attention ; for, panther-like, it stands ready to spring 
into prominence through the slightest opening of 
circumstance. When the mind is directly engaged, 
it makes little difference whether it is mere revery, 
listlessness, or vagueness which detracts from the 
attention. The result will be the same. Whatever 
the character of the intruder, success is gained only 
by its complete exclusion. 

Such a course of procedure as here indicated may 
be called concentration of the mind upon the par- 
ticular subject in hand, but <vvrirpntra ti^n Js usually 
accompanied by consciousness of more or less 
strenuous mental effort, and, as has already been set 
forth, this mental exclusion should be accomplished 
*S without effort, simply by letting go of all thoughts 
except those directly required for the prosecution 
of the work. Insomuch as there is stress and 



UNDIVIDED ATTENTION 2OJ 

strain, there is instituted a second line of discordant 
thinking running alongside of the one whose ex- 
:lusion is desired, and this gives the mind a double 
duty to perform, thus defeating the object sought 
by the very effort to accomplish it. 



xxvm 

IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING 

THE importance of the early education of children 
is well understood, because it is recognized that 
the early training lasts longest and most strongly in- 
fluences life and character. A modern writer has 
only echoed the opinion of all careful observers 
when he says : "More that is elementary a key to 
all the rest is learned in the cradle and beside 
the mother's chair than in all after time.". And a 
great religious organization is said to hold that if it ' 
can have the direction of the young life for its first 
seven years it cares little who has it afterward. 

Every one who has learned the value of the sug- 
gestions set forth in these pages, whether through his 
own experience in their practical application or 
through his observation of others, has also learned 
that much pain, suffering, difficulty, and perhaps 
disaster might have been avoided if he had been j ' 
taught these things early in life. Recognition of 
the advantages derived from such teaching takec 

oft 



IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING 209 

one back to the earliest days of childhood and sug- 
gests many thoughts of lost possibilities. 

He who attempts to instruct along these lines 
often hears exclamations like these: "What if I 
had been told when a child!" "Oh, if all children 
were only taught this ! How it would save them, as 
it would have saved me!" The world only half 
recognizes the importance of the very earliest tram- 
ing. The child even when in the cradle may be 
taught. "As the twig is bent the tree is inclined," 
and the earlier the bending, the more easily is it done. 
Painful or disastrous experiences in hard places 
are not necessary, and they would not have to be 
endured if, before the time of their occurrence, the 
proper instruction had been given and received. 
The child need not burn itself in order to avoid the 

\ hot stove, because it may be so instructed by the 
wise parent that it will avoid the stove without 

, the painful experience. Similarly, in later years, the 
person need not have the suffering and disease nor 
the vice and immorality which arise from erroneous 
thinking, if the proper early instruction has been 
given. 

Without knowing it, the mother is acting in com- 
pliance with great fundamental principles when she 
directs the crying infant's attention to something 



2IO RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

different from the cause of its trouble in order that 
the object of the crying may be forgotten. This 
change of thought by change of external suggestion 
is exactly what the physician expects when he sends 
his patients to new scenes and surroundings. The 
change of scene induces a change in thinking, and 

! in that way the infirmity is healed. He is merely 
repeating the mother method. 

It is only needed to teach the child Jto make such 
mental changes himself while in the midst of the 
circumstances and suggestions that cause the trouble. 
This can be done by repeatedly calling the child's | 
attention to what happens when some one else 
diverts his attention from the cause of his discord, 
and showing him how he can do the same thing 
himself without the intervention of another. Such \ 
instruction is really cultivation of that most desirable 
attainment, self-control, because each such incident 

! is really a practical lesson in the art. The impor- 
tance of this method and its great advantages over 

i abrupt and violent arbitrary command jhave seldom 
. : been fully understood or appreciated. One is along 
right lines, inviting and receiving the cooperation | 
of the child. The other is wrong in principle and 
invariably arouses opposition and resistance. One 
makes. The other literally breaks. 



IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING 2IV 

Practical instruction in accordance with the true 
principles can begin just as soon as fche little one has 
recognized |his own thinking, and this occurs much 
earlier than is usually supposed. Let the intelli- 
gent adult turn backward in memory to the time 
when he first recognized what it is to_ think. If he 
has not done this before, he will be surprised to 
recall how young he was when this experience first 
came to him. The wise parent can !by right sugges- 
tion /easily make this date -much earlier than it 
otherwise would be. Then, along with the injunc- 
tions not to do this or that, can come the similar 
| injunction not tojhink of the disturfrfrfr thin^r. hu 
to think of something else. If begun early enough, 
it is little more difficult to teach a child not to think 
certain thoughts than to teach it not to perform 
certain acts. Thus in earliest life the most desirable 
mental habits may be established, and the foundation 
may be laid for most valuable elements of character. 

There is no need of complicating the child's 
conditions with the large amount of contributing 
information which the adult often requires before 
his mind is satisfied of the accuracy of a proposition. 
That can come later. The child naturally accepts 
the parental assertion without question, and instruc- 
tion can be reduced to its very simplest form 



212 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

Experience will bring all the rest, and with each 
experience the habit will become more firmly 
established. 

Very early the child's observation can be directed 
to the great 'though simple -fact that thinking comes 
first and that without thinking there will not be any 
action. Important as this statement is, it is so 
simple that it is entirely within the possibilities of 
the child's comprehension, and an understanding of 
this fact will greatly emphasize the parental instruc- 
tion. All that will then be needed! is! cultivation of 
the moral qualities and an explanation of their re- 
lation Jo the thinking and acting, which should be 
a part of the training of every child. Of course 
there must be with this, as there is with all instruc- 
tion of children, the frequent and patient repetition 
of precept, explanation, and example. In any 
kind of training of young or old'it is line upon line 
and precept upon precept. This education cannot 
begin too soon, nor can it be prosecuted too assidu- 
ously. 

In this mental training of the child there is a wide 
field for the parent and an equally wide one for 
the kindergartner and the primary teacher, and 
indeed for all teachers; but the secure foundation 
ought to be laid before the young life comes in con- 



IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING 

tact with those who are called more advanced in- 
structors. Instruction and practice must necessarily 
continue until perfect control of the mental pro- 
cesses has been gained, and the last trace of erro- 
neous or discordant thinking has disappeared. Noth 
ing less than this should be the object of either child 
or adult. 

Training and education because of the child 
should begin even earlier than this. Since think- 

I ing is the initial action among human.,, actions, it ' 
follows that the thought of the mother before the 

* child is born 'is a formative thought which, to a large 
extent, decides the mental conditions and character 

; of the infant. Both observation and experiment 
show that our basic proposition applies here with 
the same force as elsewhere, though physical changes 
are inoperative. The mental alone is efficacious. 
Mutilations do not affect anything beyond the one 
mutilated. The Chinese have compressed the feet 
of their girl babies for centuries, yet the girls are 
born with feet capable of normal development. 
But the physical type of any race is not any more 

! persistent than their mental characteristics; indeed, 
their physical peculiarities change with changed 

1 mental conditions. The ancient Greeks attained 
their beautiful bodily configuration by controlling 



314 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

the mental habits of the mothers, and by thus influ- 
encing the physical development of children they 
controlled that of the whole people. Their object II ! 
was beauty of form. How much more important 
and valuable are correct mental and moral charac- 
teristics ! 

The mother, by control of her own thinking, can 
make what she will of her unborn child. Here in 
the very beginning of the new life is greater need, 
greater opportunity, and greater advantage to the 
child, than the future holds, for the foundation is 
being kid. But this depends for its success upon 
the power which the mother herself already pos- 
sesses through her control of her own mental ac- 
tions. Both parents have their part here, and there- 
fore both should be ready for doing the appropriate 
work in the best way; hence they should them- 
selves be already in possession of thorough mental 
discipline and self-control. This means years of 
previous self-training for both, but it also means a 
more advantageous start in life for the child and a 
better outlook for its future prosperity and success. 
It also means a better nation and a better race. 

In view of these facts the statement of Dr. Holmes 
that the training of a child should begin three hun- 
dred years before its birth does not seem an exag- 



IMPORTANCE OF EARLY TRAINING 

geration. An incentive for all young persons to 
maintain energetically and efficiently the cultivation 
and practice of mental control lies in the fact that 
by so doing they are preparing themselves to usher 
into existence better children, more fully equipped 
for their places in the world. Thus they are bene- 
fiting not only themselves but those who are to be 
dearer to them than their own lives. President Hall 
sums up the whole in a very terse and true declara- 
tion: "Every experience of body or soul bears on 
heredity, and the best life is that which is best for 
the unborn." That which is truly best for one is 
really best for all. 

The grand possibilities for improvement which 
this opens up for the person, and through the per- 
son for the race, are incalculable. The method is 
simple. Here as much as anywhere, perhaps more 
than anywhere else, appear the value and influence 
of the right mental action of each in its effect on 
others and on the world at large. 



XXIX 

THREE NOTABLE EXAMPLES 

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE possessed most remarkable 
control of his thinking, which enabled him to exclude 
from his mind completely all those thoughts which 
he chose, and thus not only devote his entire atten- 
tion to the one subject in hand, but even seemingly 
to make himself over into another personage. 

It is claimed that he was naturally humane, gen- 
erous, and sympathetic. If this be true, then he 
could effectually dismiss all such thoughts from his 
mind, because he could become as hard as steel. At 
one time he seemed dominated by one set of ideas, 
and by another set at another time. He was, in- 
deed, so changeable as to puzzle not only his biog- 
raphers, but the world. So complete were his 
changes that his admirers are uncertain which was 
the real man. The probability is that one was as 
real as the other, because his own statements indi- 
cate that these peculiarities /were the result of in- 
tended change of thinking as the circumstances 01 

116 



THREE NOTABLE EXAMPLES 8X7 

his judgment dictated. "He compared his mind 
to a chest of drawers, where each subject occupied 
its separate space. In turn he opened each drawer. 
No one subject got mixed with another. When all 
the drawers were shut he fell asleep. Of course this 
was not literally true, but during his best years it 
came as near being literally true as is possible to the 
human brain." * 

In his life there were many instances of this per- 
fect control of his own thinking. When his prepa- 
rations had been made and his troops were engaged 
in battle, if all was going as he had planned, he 
could slumber peacefully while the most horrible 
carnage was in progress. He did this repeatedly. 
At Jena he slept on the ground while the battle 
raged. At Austerlitz, after his arrangements had 
been completed, he slept in the straw of a hut as 
peacefully as an infant. These things were possi- 
ble only through his great mental control; and 
though there is much in his career that cannot be 
commended and should not be emulated, yet his 
mental control was most admirable. He is one of 
the great examples of what can be accomplished by 
this means, and every one may profitably pattern 
after him in this respect. 

* Watson's Napoleon, p. 401. 



2l8 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

George W. Smalley, writing of Gladstone, says: 
"If Mr. Gladstone had one mental characteristic 
more distinctly marked than another, it was his 
power of absolutely excluding any given subject 
from his mind and concentrating his whole intellec- 
tual energy on some other subject. Always, what- 
j ever it was, one at a time. In the same way he 
1 could and would exclude all subjects when the time 
came for rest." * 

In the same article he quotes what Mr. Gladstone 
says of himself: "Of course it has been an anxious 
life. I have had to make many decisions of the 
highest importance in public affairs. I have given 
each one of them the best attention I could. I have 
: weighed arguments and facts, and made up my 
mind as best I could, and then dismissed the sub- 
ject. I have had to make a great many speeches, 
and have made them as well as I knew how, and 
then an end. But if, after I had taken a decision 
or made a speech, I had begun to worry over it and 
to say to myself, 'Perhaps I ought to have given 
greater weight to this or that fact, or did not fully 
consider this or that argument, or might have put 
this consideration more fully in my speech, or 
turned this sentence better, or made a stronger ap- 

1 Harper's Monthly, August, 1898. 



THREE NOTABLE EXAMPLES 219 

peal to my audience ' if I had done this instead 
of doing my best while I could and then totally dis- 
missing the matter from my mind, I should have 
been in my grave twenty years ago." 

Jacob Riis says in his story of President Roose- 
velt: "The faculty of forgetting all else but the 
topic in hand is one of the great secrets of his success 
in whatever he has undertaken as an official. It is 
the faculty of getting things done. They tell stories 
yet, that go around the board of class dinners, of 
how he would come into a fellow-student's room for 
a visit, and, picking up a book, would become im- 
mediately and wholly absorbed in its contents, then 
wake up with a guilty start to confess that his whole 
hour was gone, and hurry away. In all the wild 
excitement of the closing hours of the convention 
that set him in the vice-president's chair, he, alone, 
in an inner room, was reading Thucydides, says 
Albert Shaw, who was with him. He was resting. 
I saw him pick up a book in a lull in the talk the 
other day, and instantly forget all things else." 



XXX 

THE PENALTY FOR SIN 

ALTHOUGH exclusion of discordant thinking car- 
ries with it avoidance of discordant physical condi- 
tions, let it not be imagined that the sinner, by 
the exclusion from his mind of such thoughts as 
sorrow, regret, remorse, and self-condemnation, can 
escape the rightful penalty for his deeds. His sin- 
ful course is itself discordant and produces its own 
discordant consequences from which there is no 
escape except by abandoning it. Each discordant 
condition has its own consequences, and the exclu- 
sion of one of those conditions from the mind does 
not bring avoidance of the consequences of the 
others. It is true that a man may avoid all the 
suffering which might be caused by regret if he will 
exclude regret from his mind, but that would not in 
the slightest relieve him of the suffering which the 
commission of sin has already caused. 

It may be said that the suffering occasioned by 
remorse for acts committed is directly attributable 
to those acts themselves, for had there not been any 



THE PENALTY FOR SIN 221 

such acts, there would not have been any such 
thoughts. Grant this; but each discordant thought 
brings its own punishment, and the sinner would 
have no more suffering from such thoughts than 
would the virtuous person who, laboring under the 
mistake that he has acted wrongly, gives himself 
up to thinking of this kind. 

A case in point is that of a clergyman of upright 
and exemplary life and character who in some way 
became possessed by the erroneous idea that he had 
committed the unpardonable sin. His remorse and 
despair were extreme, and he sank into his grave, a 
victim of the discordant thoughts which were pro- 
voked by his hallucination. It cannot be said that 
his suffering and death were the result of his sin, 
because he had not sinned; they were the result of 
his discordant thinking. 

Of course, in the case of the sinful man, as with 
the innocent, suffering may be occasioned by grief, 
regret, remorse, and the like, and it may be avoided 
by avoiding such thinking; but that erroneous 
thinking which culminates in what is called sin is 
discordant in and of itself alone, and out of these 
discordant conditions must come their legitimate 
discordant results independent of whatever may 
arise from any other source and in addition to it 



222 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

This discordant thinking and acting is a class by 
itself, and its results must stand in a class by them- 
selves; therefore, though a man aiay banish all 
other discordant thinking and acting and thus avoid 
their consequences, yet he will still have the discord 
caused by his sinning, and he cannot escape its 
results. 

Though such a man may present the appearance 
of health and strength, yet his error will surely find 
him out. One need not flatter himself that he can 
evade the penalty of a single evil, sinful, or discord- 
ant thought or action, by harmonious thinking and 
pure conduct in all other particulars. The penalty 
for the single violation can no more be avoided than 
can the greater penalty when all the thoughts and 
actions are discordant. Thinking produce^ actions 
like itself; the error thought not only perpetuates 
itself but develops and enlarges its own error, and 
sooner or later suffering of some kind follows. It 
is as inevitable as that consequences follow causes. 
One must put away all sinful thinking and acting if 
he would escape all penalty. Banished discord does 
not leave any sting in its trail, but just so far as it is 
indulged it will surely bear its bitter fruit. 

The deed that is done is beyond recall ; the word 
that is spoken cannot be unsaid; the thought that 



THE PENALTY FOR SIN 823 

has flashed across the horizon of the mind has left 
its image, like that of lightning across the sky, and 
each has shot its consequences into the future. 
There is nothing more inevitable than these conse- 
quences, whether for good or for evil. The good 
result from the good is just as sure as the bad result 
from the bad; nature works with absolute impar- 
tiality; it rests with each man to decide which it 
shall be, good or evil. The world may never see 
the consequences of a man's act ; his most intimate 
friends may not suspect it ; he may not himself con- 
nect his condition with it; but the consequence is 
inevitable. 

Neither the world, nor the man's enemies, nor his 
intimates, need to trouble themselves; he will surely 
reap the consequences of his conduct. Men, 
whether friends or enemies, are always too prone 
to condemn; but, whatever their opinion, their con- 
demnation can be neither right nor wise; nor is it 
needed to bring about the results which are justly 
due. Those who indulge in condemnation may 
have no compunctions about it and may think it is 
deserved by the culprit, yet such thinking is itself 
discordant, and the penalty for discordant thinking 
will never fail to reach him who sits in judgment on 
another. 



224 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

Even the libertine and the murderer who arc 
never found out, and those who escape punishment 
by legal process, will get the just reward for their 
course. Though the man <yho commits a wrong 
may, in his own mind, justify himself for it, or, be- 
cause of erroneous thinking, may even have the 
opinion that be has done an admirable act, yet his 
course will finally bring down upon him its conse- 
quences in some form of suffering or deprivation 
though it be nothing more than the condition of not 
knowing, not understanding, and thus not receiving 
and not having those desirable qualities or things 
which otherwise would have been his. While such 
deprivations may be considered mild punishment, 
yet who can measure their extent or their impor- 
tance ; and who shall judge ? 

The punishment inflicted by man upon his brother 
man is of the same general character, for it consists 
almost wholly in depriving the condemned person 
of what would otherwise belong to him and be en- 
joyed by him. What else is a fine but depriving a 
man of property; or imprisonment but depriving 
him of freedom ; or the extreme penalty of the law 
but depriving him of his life? In one way or an- 
other, part or all of these will come to the erring 
man without the intervention of another; and with 



THE PENALTY FOR SIN 225 

them will come many other conditions which no one 
else could inflict upon him. Of vastly more impor- 
tance than all else is the loss of those mental and 
moral qualities which the wrong-doer, by his own 
action, deprives himself of. He finds indeed that 
"the wages of sin is death" death to all his nobler 
and higher instincts. 

For centuries the fear of hell has been considered 
a restraint on the wicked; but the punishment here 
noted is more unerring and more certain. There is 
not any postponement to an indefinite future nor is 
there any way of escape. It has its beginning in the 
very act itself, even in the thought which produced 
the act, just as the plant exists in the seed, the cause 
in its consequence. The man who lies must tell a 
dozen more to cover that one, and will always be 
haunted by the fear of being found out. Thus the 
error becomes its own punishment, which is from 
within itself and is in the form of more and greater 
error. The consequence must in every case be ex- 
actly adjusted to its cause, therefore the punishment 
must be exactly proportioned to the guilt. The 
scales of natural justice are always balanced with 
even fidelity. Gravitation is not more steadfast. 
Indeed, error is the gravitation of morals, but it 
does not have a stopping-place as the falling stone 



126 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

has. It is itself the bottomless pit. It is its own 
destiny, ordained and unchangeable. Principle 
never changes; causation never falters nor wavers. 
Paradoxical as it may seem, the way of escape 
from punishment is included in this unwavering 
inviolability of principle which punishes so relent- 
lessly. There is forgiveness for the evil, but only 
in the entire abandonment of the evil course of act- 
ing, speaking, or thinking. Their continuance, or 
the continuance of either of them, is the continuance 
of the cause, and that is the inexorable and sure con- 
tinuance of their consequences ; but it is the cause 
which produces the consequences, and if the cause is 
not allowed to exist, there will not be any conse- 
quences. The seed of the thistle need not be 
planted, and then there will not be any thistles; 
but even if it has been planted and has already 
sprung up, it may be cut down and its roots may 
be dug out so as to exterminate it completely. 



XXXI 

A STORY AND ITS LESSON 

AVOIDANCE of discordant thinking is of great so- 
cial as well as personal advantage to the one who 
has attained it. It is a mild power, but it is of tre- 
mendous effectiveness. 

Whgtherjwe^know _Jt u or not, we always arouse 
thoughts in others similar to those which fill our 
own minds. Anger in one person provokes anger in 
others, and love begets love. Fear brings fear, and 
confidence inspires confidence. The cheerfulness of 
one person will pervade a roomful, and if persisted 
in it may extend to a whole neighborhood. Even 
the most retiring and least assertive have their influ- 
ence upon others far beyond their own recognition. 

Intention does not alone control the impression 
made upon another, because there may be a differ- 
ence between its character and the method of its 
execution which may produce a result contrary to 
that intended; besides, there may be some strong 
dominant thought in the background which is quite 

92J 



228 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

different from the intention. Mere possession oi 
this positive thought,*without any effort or desire on 
the part of the thinker, affects and influences others, 
and the more earnest or positive the thought, the 
more efficacious will it be, and the more certain and 
definite will be the result. It does not need any 
intention to influence others, but only the earnest 
desire on the part of the thinker himself to be right 
and to think right. 

A teacher in one of the public schools of Boston 
had an assistant assigned to her in her school- 
room. This threw two strangers into close rela- 
tionship during the school hours of every day. 
They soon found that they were each in such a 
mental condition that if either made a suggestion 
or expressed an opinion it disturbed or irritated 
the other. The mental disturbance or irritation 
thus aroused was a mild form of anger, though 
each would have preferred to call it by some other 
name. This was of such frequent occurrence 
that it colored the whole day. After mature 
deliberation the teacher decided not to allow this 
mental disquiet in herself. She resolved to stop 
thinking the discordant or angry thoughts, how- 
ever slight they might be. 

The opportunity to put her resolution into effect 



A STORY AND ITS LESSON 229 

came very soon after it was made. The assistant 
said something which irritated her. Affairs in 
the room were in such a condition that she could 
sit at one of the desks and labor with herself in 
the attempt to stop her own discordant thinking. 
During the effort she did not try in any way to 
influence the assistant; indeed, she did not once 
think of doing so. Her attempt was to change 
her own mental condition and to cleanse her own 
mind of all discordant thinking. Her work was 
with herself alone. 

She found that it required more effort and 
occupied a longer time than she had anticipated, 
but this only intensified her determination to set 
herself right. After a while she experienced the 
pleasure of success. The discordant thoughts 
all disappeared and harmonious ones took their 
places. A delightful revulsion of feeling followed. 
A harmonious glow filled her whole being, and 
she rejoiced that she had triumphed over her own 
discordant thinking. 

She sat in her place a little longer in order more 
firmly to establish her present mental condition 
and to fortify herself against a return of the dis- 
cordant thinking, as well as to enjoy the pleasure 
of her present satisfaction, when something 



230 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

occurred which greatly surprised her. The assist- 
ant came and sat down beside her, took her hand 
in a half-caressing way as it lay upon the desk, 
and, in a tone of voice which she had never recog- 
nized from her before, asked about something 
which was going on in the schoolroom. The 
discord had also ceased in the assistant's mind, 
and harmony had taken its place. The division 
between them was healed. 

Seemingly this was a little incident, but it is 
important because it illustrates an important prin- 
ciple of mental action which is always at work 
between people who are thrown into close rela- 
tionship with each other. By her earnest work 
with herself to stop her own discordant thinking, 
the teacher had changed the condition of her own 
mind, and, without any intention or even thought 
about it on her own part, this change had so 
affected the assistant as to work a mental revolu- 
tion in her mind also. The close elationship 
between minds is such that when the teacher had 
recovered her own mental poise the assistant, 
without conscious thought or intention, regained 
hers also. 1 Such is the effect of banishing dis- 

1 u Through waves of an atmosphere unseen by the physical eye, 
the sound of the church bell is conveyed to our ears. Through th 



A STORY AND ITS LESSON 231 

cordant thoughts from one's own mind and intro- 
ducing positive and harmonious ones in their 
places. 

The old saying that it takes two to quarrel is 
true, and it is equally true that the mental rela- 
tionship between man and man is such that it 
takes two to be angry. If one of the angry parties 
ejects all discordant thinking from himself and 
waits without impatience or any other kind of 
discordant thinking, the anger of the other one 
must stop of itself. It has nothing to feed upon. 

In the case of the teacher and her assistant it 
is certain that there was discordant thinking; 
perhaps at first it was only on the part of one (it 
is of no consequence which), but it communicated 
itself to the other, increasing as time went on, and 
it continued until one of them assumed positively 
the right mental attitude for herself, and then it 
ceased with the other. 

This incident suggests the course to be pursued 
ir all misunderstandings or quarrels. The one 
who recognizes the situation should at once set 

vibrations of an ether which the finest instrument cannot discern, 
the light from distant stars is brought to our organs of vision. Is 
it more wonderful to believe that through an unseen medium of 
mind we are sending rays of silent influence into the lives oi 
others?" LOREN B. MCDONALD in Guarding the Thoughts, p. 17 



RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

his own mind at peace, sweeping it clear of aD 
discordant thoughts concerning the attendant 
actions and conditions, regardless of their charac- 
ter and without any question of how or where they 
originated or who was to blame; this done, he 
should in every particular keep his mind in a con- 
dition of perfect harmony toward the other and 
wait. Waiting will do the rest. "They also serve 
who only stand and wait;" and especially is this 
the case if, in addition to the waiting, they main- 
tain the right mental condition. 

Unless it comes about naturally and without 
effort there should not be any verbal attempt at 
reconciliation. Very often the best-intentioned 
predetermined efforts of this kind fail of success. 
Complete control of one's own mind in such cases 
will never fail. This does not mean that when 
one finds he has done wrong, he must not say so 
to the one he has wronged; but even this is not 
advisable until the confession can be made with- 
out the slightest discordant stir in himself. Dis- 
cord in one person rouses it in another, and even 
allusion to the subject which has once caused 
inharmony may arouse it again. 

It should be expressly noted that in the case 
just cited the teacher did not do the work in her 



A STORY AND ITS LESSON 233 

self for the purpose of affecting the assistant, nor 
for any other but the one sole object of making 
herself right. This mental attitude is of first im- 
portance. To purify one's own self for the sake 
of purifying others isjcornmendable, but it is not 
so praiseworthy as when undertaken with the single 
object of correcting one's own faults. It will 
then better affect and assist others than if it were 
undertaken for that object. It is only with one's 
own self that one has to deal never interfering 
with another unless assistance is asked. 

When there has been anger between two 
people, for one of them to undertake by word or 
deed to set the other right would frustrate all the 
good intentions in the world unless the one who 
attempts it has already first completely accom- 
plished it in himself. Even then success may be 
very doubtful. Indeed, just here is where grave 
mistakes are often made in trying to solve any social 
problem. Every person is prone to lay the blame 
on another and then to try to make that other one 
Tight instead of turning his whole attention to 
correcting the error in himself. Correction of the 
other person by one of the parties to a quarrel 
is impossible in nine cases out of ten, and espe- 
cially is this true when the discordant thought of 



234 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

condemnation exists in the mind of the one who 
makes the attempt. 

Epictetus was right when he declared: "How- 
ever he treats me, I am to act rightly with regard 
to him ; for the one is my own concern, the other is 
not. " Acting and thinking are so closely allied that 
this rule applies as much to the one as to the other. 
It is a maxim of the soundest philosophy that 
nothing another does can ever make it right for 
me to do wrong, because wrong is never right, and 
no combination of circumstances can ever make 
it so. 

When the teacher had removed the discord 
from her own mind, she discovered that it had 
disappeared from the assistant's also. Had she 
attempted to correct the assistant's error instead 
of correcting her own, the discord might never have 
been healed. Although the assistant's action was 
set in motion by what the teacher did, yet the 
assistant's thinking and acting were her own and 
not the teacher's. Another's thoughts become 
our own only when we accept them as ours. Ref- 
ormation is at last one's own work. 

In fact, as seen in the principle set forth in these 
pages, each can reform only one person in the world, 
and that one is himself. However much the sug- 



A STORY AND ITS LESSON 235 

gestion to reform may come from another, yet 
all reformation is essentially self -reformation, 
because all thinking is one's own thinking, and 
thinking is the causative power. This does not 
exclude assisting some one else when assistance 
is asked for, nor does it prohibit extending all 
good feeling and brotherly love to others. Indeed, 
the underlying principle requires this, because 
otherwise one's own mind cannot be in a harmo- 
nious condition; but the work is, after all, one's 
own work with one's own self. When he has cast 
' out the beam from his own eye, then shall he see 
clearly to cast out the mote from his brother's eye ; 
but hi the process of removing the beam he will 
most probably have effected the removal of the 
mote also, and therefore he shall then see that there 
is nothing to be removed from the eye of his brother. 



xxxn 

THE STORY OF A CONTRACT 

A MAN whom we will call Smith because mat 
is not his name had a contract with a carpenter 
to build a house. When the work was about half 
done, the carpenter came and said that he was in 
distress because of certain financial obligations 
which were about to mature, and that he would 
be greatly accommodated if he could have imme- 
diately all the money that would be due him when 
the house should be completed. Smith had the 
money in the bank and gave it to him. All went 
well until the house was very nearly done. Then 
the carpenter left it and went to other work; much 
to Smith's disadvantage. 

Several weeks passed, and, as there was no indi- 
cation that anything further would be done on 
the house, Smith sent to the carpenter and asked 
when he was going to finish his work. The reply 
came back that he had done all he intended to do 
on the house and, besides, he was too mad to talk 

236 



THE STORY OF A CONTRACT 237 

about it; whereupon Smith got angry, too, but 
upon consideration he decided to make a practical 
test of the principles which were so successfully 
followed by the teacher. He put out of himself 
all anger and condemnation of the carpenter, as 
well as all other discordant thoughts, so that he 
was able without mental discord to review the 
whole transaction, his favor to the carpenter, the 
disadvantage of the delay, and even the rudeness 
of the reply to his inquiry. Then he went to see 
the carpenter. When he met him and saw the 
muscles of his face stiffen and his whole counte- 
nance harden as he looked up, even that did not 
rouse any discordant thinking in Smith's mind, 
so thoroughly was he under the right mental con- 
trol. They immediately began talking about the 
unfinished work, and in less than ten minutes the 
carpenter, without being requested to do so, offered 
to go back and finish his job. Smith told him that 
he might send one of his workmen, but he insisted 
on going himself. The carpenter went and did 
all the work required, including some extras which 
he cheerfully declined to accept pay for. 

The effective consideration in this case was the 
successful effort that Smith made to clear his own 
mind from discord. As in the case of the teacher, 



238 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

here was also an entire absence of any attempt 
to influence the carpenter by any mental means 
whatsoever. No one's rights were assailed or 
interfered with in the slightest. There was noth- 
ing concealed or underhanded. There was no 
compulsion or attempt at compulsion. All the 
influence Smith exercised over the carpenter was 
in a fair, face-to-face, open conversation, with only 
harmony in his own mind behind his words. The 
result was much pleasanter and far more success- 
ful than any attempt at compulsion could have 
been. Indeed, any such attempt, accompanied 
as it would have been by recrimination and angry 
words, would have intensified the carpenter's 
feelings and defeated Smith's object. Where 
anger has ruled, expensive lawsuits have grown 
out of incidents of far less importance. It was 
much cheaper than a lawsuit would have been in 
the expenditure of both money and energy of every 
kind, to say nothing of the long train of evils aris- 
ing from hostile feelings. Nothing is necessary 
in a dispute except that one of the parties shall 
put away all discordant thinking. 

Perhaps some one may claim inability to do as 
Smith did under such conditions, and that may 
be true; but every one can do it on occasions of 



THE STORY OF A CONTRACT 239 

/ess importance; and if he does not let any inci- 
dent slip, but accomplishes the exclusion of his 
discordant thinking in each one of the smaller 
affairs, he will soon be able to do the same thing 
in the gravest and most important situations. As 
an illustration of how business may be conducted 
successfully, this incident has its lesson. If this 
plan were followed by everybody, one large and 
important class in the community would change 
its occupation for a more productive one. 

The same principle is illustrated in a dispute 
which occurred over the boundary line between 
two pieces of property. The owner of one piece 
claimed that the fence was in the wrong place and 
should be removed so as to include in his own 
tract quite a strip of the land of his neighbor. 
Angry feelings and discordant thinking resulted. 
A kwsuit grew out of it and dragged along for 
years. Each asserted that he cared very little 
for the land, but insisted he was contending for a 
principle. The quarrel grew and prospered with 
small prospect of settlement until one of the parties 
was tired out and sold his land to get rid of the 
difficulties. 

The purchaser was the very reverse of quarrel- 
some, and all who knew the circumstances won- 



240 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

dered that he had bought property encumbered 
with a lawsuit. His action showed his wisdom. 
At the first favorable opportunity he approached 
the claimant and after a few pleasant words asked 
him where he believed the fence ought to be. The 
claimant pointed out the place very carefully. 
When this had been definitely fixed, the new owner 
said: "If you will move the fence to that place, I 
will pay half the expense of the removal, since it 
is a line fence." The claimant was surprised. 
He had been met by a man who had only harmony 
in his heart and was overcome by it. The fence 
continues to stand in its old place, the lawsuit is 
dismissed, and the two men are fast friends. 

Such is the power of non-resistance when com- 
bined, as it always should be, with harmonious 
mental conditions in the mind of one of the parties 
to a quarrel. 



xxxm 

THE STORY OF A NOTE 

A GENTLEMAN borrowed five hundred dollars 
of a widow, giving his note. Soon afterward her 
eldest son got into trouble of such a kind that 
the penitentiary was in prospect for him. The 
borrower investigated the situation, and found 
that the young man had done wrong, but that the 
action was without criminal intention. Older and 
designing persons had taken advantage of his 
inexperience and had made him a tool for the 
execution of their own illegal purposes. The 
borrower used his influence in the proper way, 
saved the young man from disaster, and set him 
on his feet. Warned and instructed by this expe- 
rience, he made a man of himself. Not very long 
afterward the second son of the widow fell into 
serious, though not so grave, difficulties, and the 
borrower extricated him also from his dilemma. 
In the meantime the note was not paid because 
the man was not able, and, too, although he had 
not made any claim for it, he thought that he 

241 



242 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

ought to have some consideration for his service 
to the two sons. 

After a few years the widow died. Now there 
must be a settlement; but the borrower hoped 
the son who had been so efficiently befriended 
would be made administrator of the estate. In- 
stead, a son-in-law was appointed, a man who, 
though successful in business, had the reputation 
of not being very particular as to the methods by 
which he attained success. This did not indicate 
leniency about the payment of the note, but the 
borrower allowed things to drift without any action 
until the legal time for the settlement of the estate 
had nearly expired. He then began to think 
that the administrator had decided to let the whole 
subject drop, when one day an officer walked 
into his place of business and served a warrant 
on him for a thousand dollars. Delay could no 
longer continue. Something must be done. The 
question was, "What?" The borrower decided 
to begin by regulating his own mind, and succeeded 
so well that without mental discord he could 
think of all the incidents and persons connected 
with the affair, including his own remissness in not 
attending to the business as he ought to have done. 

A few days before the time to appear and an- 



THE STORY OF A NOTE 243 

swer the warrant he sought out the administrate! 
and told him that he had come to talk about the 
note. To the direct questions which the admin- 
istrator asked he responded frankly that he made 
the note in good faith, that the signature was his 
own, that he received the money at the time he 
gave the note, and that he had not paid anything, 
not even the interest. Of course, such admissions 
to the administrator would ruin his case in any 
court. He then said that he thought two men of 
average intelligence who wanted nothing but what 
was right could themselves settle such a question 
as this without the intervention of the law. He 
maintained his own harmonious frame of mind 
while he told the administrator the whole story, 
and then the subject was discussed between them. 
The result was that at the end of an amicable 
conference of half an hour, without any sugges- 
tion or request from the borrower, the adminis- 
trator offered to "call the whole thing square" 
without the payment of any money. 

Avoidance of discordant thinking is of immense 
and direct importance, and even of money value, 
in business transactions; and yet all this is only 
controlling the mental action so as to keep it within 
the lines indicated by principle. 



XXXIV 

A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 

THESE incidents, which are absolutely true, 
are a practical demonstration of the importance 
of thought control in all social and business affairs, 
and they also show what may result from main- 
taining one's own mind in harmonious conditions, 
keeping it as closely as possible in the exact and 
perhaps seemingly narrow way of undoubted and 
unquestionable right without any attempt either 
directly or indirectly to influence any one else. 
They are illustrations of the action of a power 
which, though not always recognized, is constantly 
operating among men; and they show why some 
persons utterly fail in their attempts, while yet 
others hinder and even pervert their own efforts. 
This power lies in the ability to control mental 
conditions and to establish the right mental state 
in one's own mind. This state, once established 
and maintained, works effectually toward the 
accomplishment of right results in one's own self 



A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 24$ 

and in others, and does this without any conscious 
effort of the person. 

The really efficient work for others must follow 
work with one's own self. Without that all else 
fails. In neither of these cases cited did the one 
most interested attempt by any mental procedure, 
either surreptitious or otherwise, to influence the 
mind or actions of the other. In each case it was 
a frank, open, face-to-face transaction. To have 
done otherwise would have been specially repre- 
hensible, and such a course would bear the same 
relation to rightful mental action that stealing does 
to legitimate financial transactions. 

It is only a step from attempting to influence 
another mentally and in the right direction, but 
without his knowledge, to the attempt to influence 
him in doubtful or wrong ways. After all, who 
shall say that his own idea of right is absolutely 
without flaw, or even what is advisable or best 
for another? Can one always decide these ques- 
tions for one's self? How much lees, then, for 
another, especially when the most sincere and 
earnest convictions of the wisest men so contradict 
one another! And how shall one know what 
another wishes unless the wish is expressed? 
Secretly to influence another against his wishes 



246 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

is to dominate him. Far too often has this under- 
handed action been used to gain one's own purpose; 
and yet, many times, this has been done with the 
sincere conviction that it was a kindness or a duty 
and therefore was right and just and even praise- 
worthy. How wisely did Burns sing: 

u When self the wavering balance shakes 
'Tis rarely right adjusted." 

The thug of India not only believes he is right 
in strangling his victim, but he also believes, as 
sincerely and earnestly as any one else believes 
the contrary, that it is his religious duty and that 
his action will result in an immense advantage 
to the one he strangles. He is as sincere in this 
as most Christians are in their belief about what 
they ought to do for others, or even in their belief 
that what the thug does is wrong. Equally sin- 
cere are most of those who attempt secret mental 
influence. But the belief that they are right does^ 
jnot make them so. Right is right, whatever may 
be the opinion of any one about it; and however 

^^gPMMH^BMVABMMWBMV*' 111 ' 1 ^*^"*"^"" 1 *^" 1 "'"'" 1 " 

conscientious one may be in an erroneous opinion, 
that conscientiousness does not make that opinion 
right. 

There is only one thing either necessary or 
advisable, and that is to set one's own mind in order, 



A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 247 

making it right according as one sees the right, 
and then to leave the rest to the unrecognized but 
sure working of correct principles; remembering, 
of course, that this does not exclude a frank, open 
discussion of the differences after discord has been 
dismissed from the mind. 

These incidents show the errors contained in 
two widely accepted opinions of humanity, and 
an understanding of these errors will greatly assist 
him who is striving for mental self-control. 

The first is the almost universal tendency to 
lay the blame for one's failures or mistakes at 
the door of some other person or to charge it to 
the influence of one's surroundings. The Edenic 
plea of both Adam and Eve Adam because of 
Eve, Eve because of the serpent (the serpent was 
not asked to speak for himself) has availed to 
satisfy both men and women ever since the earliest 
dawn of history; but it has not yet availed, nor 
will it ever avail to avert the natural consequences 
of one's own acts. 

Often it is enough to silence the average man's 
conscience when he thinks that he would not have 
committed the offence if it had not been for attend- 
ant circumstances. It is thought excuse enough 
for breaking an engagement to plead bad weather; 



248 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

anything or everything outside the person, trivia^ 
or important, is sufficient excuse to justify any 
failure, any neglect, and very often even an overt 
act. Though all this is wrong, yet every one is 
accustomed to these excuses, and most of us have 
used them in the attempt to satisfy our own com- 
punctions and to effect an escape from difficulties 
which we have ourselves brought upon our own 
heads. 

It is the mental condition that produces the 
action in every case, and each person is responsible 
for his own mental condition. Between the exter- 
nal circumstance and our action is always our 
own thinking, and it is that thinking and not the 
external circumstance or condition which decides 
what our action shall be. If Eve's thinking 
about the tree and its fruit had been different, 
that is, if she had come to some different conclu- 
sion about the questions presented in that connec- 
tion, her action would have been different. The 
same is also true of Adam. It was not the ser- 
pent and it was not the presence and character 
of the tree, though each had a part in the course 
of events, but it was their own final mental con- 
clusion, which decided what their action should be. 
That mental conclusion was their own, and not 



A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 249 

another's, and, therefore, no one else but them- 
selves was responsible for their actions. Thus 
it has always been with every Eve and every 
Adam. Whether the story of Adam and Eve is 
accepted as veritable history or considered as a 
fable, it admirably illustrates a nearly universal 
defect of humanity. 

For the man who owed the note, a lawsuit with 
the prospect of its attendant evils was all ready 
to his hand. The same was impending over Smith 
and the contractor. Had either Smith or the 
man who owed the note failed to control his think- 
ing, he might have said: "I was not responsible 
for this trouble. Others began it." In both 
cases the events as they transpired show that each 
would have been himself responsible, because it 
was clearly in his power to avert the disaster. 

(Every man claims praise for the good result as 
the consequence of his right action. On the same 
basis, how can he avoid blame if, by his own erro- 
neous thinking, he increases the difficulty and 
brings about evil results? 

This leads to the consideration of a second mis- 
taken but very prevalent opinion, and it also leads 
to an understanding of the erroneous actions 
consequent upon that opinion. 



250 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

A large part of mankind are zealously striving 
to reform all the rest of the world except them- 
selves. Every one sees how another ought to 
conduct himself, and each is doing his best to 
effect the desired reformation in his neighbor, 
because he believes with the good old Quaker, 
"All the world is queer except thee and me, and 
thee is a little queer." We have reformers on 
all sides trying to persuade men to avoid every 
evil that afflicts mankind; and we have govern- 
ments with courts of justice and prisons attempt- 
ing forcibly to prevent men from doing wrong or 
to compel them to do right. All these means and 
measures no doubt accomplish much good, at 
least as educators; and the motive behind them 
all is excellent. 

In point of fact, however, noone can reform 
another, although each can reform himself, and 
by that reformation may so influence others that 
they will also reform themselves. The reforma- 
tion at last is one's own work done by one's own 
self. Of course tlu-rc may be and ought to be 
wise suggestions, assistance, encouragement, advice, / 
' counsel, thus giving much help to others in a! 
multitude of ways whenever it is desired; but, 
notwithstanding all, the essential and only really 



A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 25! 

vital and effective work must be done by one's 
own self. This is because thinking is the funda- 
mental act without which nothing can be accom- 
plished, and one cannot think with another's mind 

SawMMff -""''" 

any more than he can see with another's eyes. 

The teacher might have remonstrated with her 
assistant, but probably it would have had no result 
except to antagonize and irritate her and intensify 
the already troublesome conditions. Without any 
attempt whatever in that direction the effort of the 
teacher to reform herself wrought wonders in the 
reformation of her assistant. 

The contractor was manifestly blameworthy 
because he had not done all that he had agreed 
to do, and he surely needed reforming. The 
owner of the property by due process of law might 
have compelled him to complete the work, but 
there would not have been any reformative result 
from that action. In any attempt to enforce 
reform upon the contractor the result attained 
through the self-reformation of the property owner 
would have been lost, and in the end both would 
have been worse off mentally and morally. 

In the case of the note it is true that payment 
might have been avoided by some legal process, 
questionable or otherwise; but that would have 



252 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

produced various and serious discordant condi- 
tions for all concerned, and probably it would 
have resulted in very serious injury to the bor- 
rower. All these probabilities are in sharp and 
unfavorable contrast with the harmonious results 
which followed the borrower's reformation of him- 
self. 

The fact is clearly apparent in these and multi- 
tudes of other incidents that, whether we intend 
it or not, pur unspoken thoughts influence ihose 
with whom \vc come in contact; and this pre- 
sents the control of our thinking in a new aspect 
and gives it an immensely increased value when 
considered in connection with our relationship 
to our fellows. Max Miiller said: "The only 
thing of consequence, to my mind, is what we 
think, what we know, what we believe." 

Herein is the secret of the immense influence 
of good lives. As has been shown so clearly, the 
kind of life one lives is the product of the kind of 
thinking one does, and the good thinking sheds 
itself abroad upon others as the sun radiates light, 
without any intention or effort. Therefore Jesus 
said: "Let your light shine." He did not say: 
"Make it shine." Leave the light alone, but 
have it, and it will shine of itself. Interference 



A DISCUSSION OF THE STORIES 253 

and assistance often hinder. The very best one 
can do is to BE. The measure of the influence of a 
man, whether preacher or layman, is found in what 
Jie is rather than in what he says; perhaps least 
of all in what he intends. 

This explains one great secret of the tremen- 
dous power and permanence of the influence of 
Jesus, the Christ, who not only taught and did 
right, living the right life, but who also the under- 
lying cause of all thought right. The results 
which came to him will also come to us in propor- 
tion as we keep ourselves right. 

The opinion has generally been held that a 
person has the right to think what he pleases, but 
this is not correct. In one sense a man's thoughts 
are not his own any more than are his words 
when once uttered. We know the word from the 
speaker goes out to bless or to curse, and recall 
is impossible. It is the same with the thought 

.aJso.) As~he should not have uttered the wrong 
. ^*i*r 

\ word, so he ought not to have allowed the existence ' 

\ of the wrong thought. 

In point of fact every thought, whatever its 
character may be, produces its definite result, 
not only whether we will or not, but in spite of the 
will we may exercise to prevent it. "Then every 






254 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

thought of disease, every imagination of fear of 
distrust or gloomy foreboding, would scatter, and, 
like contagion, depress the lives of others. Then 
every sentiment of hate would have in it a little 
of the real effect of murder, every harsh judgment 
would carry a vital effect of ill. Every thought 
of doubt or despair would make it harder for others 
to bear their burdens and believe in the infinite 
good." 1 

This is a dark side of the picture, but it is not 
overdrawn. A man is indeed responsible for his 
speech and his acts; he is also equally responsible 
for the thoughts which cause them, and he should 
guard his thoughts even more carefully than he does 
his acts. But there is a bright side also. A man 
can control his thinking much more easily than he 

i r - | I, ^ | , i^, -r- - i _T~_-L ~iM--^rTB_i.ni -i^-i-n-^r-^^-^**' 1 **'^'**^**^*"^**^'* 1 ' 111 *^*'**^***^*' 

can his speaking and acting when his thinking is 
not first controlled. Better still, he can control that 
thinking in the right direction, and when this is 
done, its consequences are so controlled that they 
need no attention whatever, and there is no further 
responsibility nor danger. 

1 L. B. McDonald in Guarding the Thoughts. 



XXXV 

SENSITIVENESS 

SENSITIVENESS is the tendency or disposition to 
be easily affected by external objects, events, or 
conditions. We say that a person is sensitive who 
is so delicately constituted that he is keenly suscepti- 
ble of external influences or impressions, is easily 
affected or moved by outward circumstances, and 
responds quickly to very slight changes of condition. 
Though so often misunderstood and condemned, 
it is one of man's greatest blessings. The peculiar 
sensitiveness of the optic nerve gives sight. De- 
ficient sensitiveness of that nerve causes imperfect 
sight; entire lack of it is blindness. The greater 
its sensitiveness, the better the sight and the more 
we may see, and know, and understand, if we will 
only use it as we should; that is, if the perception 
is followed by the right kind of thinking. This is 
true of every perception. 

Superiority in any sphere is unattainable without 
that sensitiveness which confers larger knowledge 

255 



2$6 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

and understanding. There is much discussion 
about what constitutes genius; at least one element 
without which it cannot exist is an extreme degree 
of this very sensitiveness, and the degree of sensi- 
tiveness often determines the degree of genius. 

It is this characteristic which enables the musician 
to perceive shades of tone which another cannot 
hear. It gives him information essential to the 
execution of delicate musical passages impossible 
to others who do not possess the quality in the same 
degree; and in directing an orchestra or a chorus 
it is this which enables him to perceive advantages 
and defects which would pass unnoticed by one less 
favored. This keenness of perception is indispen- 
sable to leadership. 1 

~ On the other hand, there are persons who culti- 
/ vate themselves into spasms over a discord, and, by 
' glorifying their suffering as a mark of superiority, 
they unintentionally provoke similar disturbing con- 
ditions in their associates. This agitation is the 
result of their thinking, and thinking is entirely 
distinct from sensitiveness. By avoiding their in- 
harmonious thoughts about the discord they will 

1 Theodore Thomas had so cultivated his sensitive ear that not 
only could he detect the slightest discord, but he could tell which 
one of the instruments in his large orchestra produced it 



SENSITIVENESS 2$J 

also avoid the disturbance they create, and this 
may be accomplished without the loss of a single 
pleasure. An ear rightly trained to listen and to 
catch the slightest variations may take note of all 
the imperfections, but they will never bring pain if 
the thinking is rightly controlled; and the more 
sensitive the ear, the greater the pleasure, because 
the mind can better perceive the exquisite beauties 
of the music, dwell upon them, and luxuriate in 
them. 

The question is whether the mind shall be oc- 
cupied with the defects of the music to the exclusion 
of consciousness of its beauties, or occupied with 
its beauties to the exclusion of its defects. Each 
person may decide for himself which it shall be. If 
he chooses discord it will be discordant in propor- 
tion to the character and intensity of his thinking; 
if harmony then harmony. The sensitiveness is 
only a servant to minister to either pain or pleasure 
at one's own behest, but it is very efficient and capable 
of bestowing immense advantages if the thinking is 
what it ought to be. This is the condition not only 
in relation to music but in every case where sensi- 
tiveness is concerned. 

Psychologists say that in the beginning we were 
not able to understand many of the messages of the 



258 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

senses, but that through our experience we have 
come to recognize without conscious effort the re- 
lation to us of those things outside of ourselves 
which are revealed by our senses. We are continu- 
ally educating ourselves in the various phases of 
sense perception, and we use that education for our 
advantage. We should do the same with every 
form of sensitiveness, including all the more subtle 
and less understood faculties which minister to our 
consciousness. 

When two people first meet, they receive impres- 
sions in addition to anything that is communicated 
by the eye, the ear, or the clasp of the hands. 
Through means and in a way not clearly under- 
stood, each perceives something of the other and 
recognizes conditions not revealed by the senses. 
There are a vast number of these perceptions, 
varying widely in their manifestations but of a simi- 
lar general character. By comparing, analyzing, 
combining, and otherwise examining, we may 
continually cultivate our understanding of these 
just as we have done with our sense perceptions. 

The most important difficulty connected with 
sensitiveness, but not an element of it, arises from 
the fact that the mental attitude is often distorted 
by allowing discordant thinking to follow experiences 



SENSITIVENESS 259 

which are not fully understood. Where we do not 
fully understand we too often let fear govern us, 
and we look for evil in all the dark places ; instead, 
we should turn on the light so that we may^know 
the true character of the information which comes 
to us through all avenues Certain of~these per- 
ceptions are held by some to be "warnings," and, 
if fear creeps in, the consequent discordant, and there- 
fore disastrous, apprehensions which follow fear act 
upon the whole physical system and bring a host of 
evils along with them. There is great opportunity 
for such results, because sensitive persons. are more 
easily injured than others not by the "warnings," 

- O ' 

but by the greater intensitY [ri of ^their discordant 

thinking. 

It should be distinctly noted that the suffering 
commonly attributed to sensitiveness does not come 
from that source nor from the perceptions which it 
confers, whatever they may be, but it does come 
solely from the discordant thinking which, through 
lack of mental control, is allowed to follow. Be- 
cause of this entire separateness between sensitive- 
ness and thinking, and because the suffering comes 
from discordant thinking and not from sensitiveness, 
the most keenly sensitive person may so train him- 
self that he can stop his discordant thinking and thus 



260 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

avoid all the injurious consequences which have 
been erroneously attributed to sensitiveness, and at 
the same time he may retain all the advantages 
which may be derived from it and its perception. 

Though sensitiveness is never an evil nor a dis- 
advantage in itself, yet thousands condemn it, 
condemn themselves for it, and are condemned by 
others because of it. Many excuse themselves and 
are excused by others for their erroneous conduct 
"because they are so sensitive"; and for the same 
reason still others are believed not to be responsible 
for that which it is supposed they cannot avoid. 
All this is wrong. Dr. Clifford Allbutt says truly: 
"The attributing of overexcitability to nerve 
structure in disease is absurd. No nervous mat- 
ter was ever too excitable. To be excitable is its 
business. In overexcitability a race-horse differs 
from a jackass. The more excitable our nerves, 
the quicker and higher our life." l 
/ If a person is mentally self-controlled, the greater 

/ his sensitiveness, the greater will be the advantages 
which he will derive therefrom, and by the proper 
cultivation of his thinking he may add largely to 

V these advantages. Even that extreme degree which 
seems to result in disease is not an exception, because 

1 System of Medicine, VoL VIII, p. 150. 



SENSITIVENESS s6l 

the disease is the result of thinking and not of sensi- 
tiveness, and when the thinking which caused it is 
avoided, the disease will not appear, although the 
sensitiveness is in no degree diminished. Control 
of the thinking along these lines must be exercised 
most rigorously. The discordant thoughts which 
follow any perception must be dismissed abruptly 
and with a positiveness which will not allow their 
return. Because of his fear the sensitive person 
continually hesitates and often refrains from doing 
important things, thus directly impairing his effi- 
ciency and adding another kind of discordant thoughts 
to the stock already on hand. Fear is not sensitive- 
ness, though the results of fear are very often mis- 
takenly laid at its door. When the eye shows us 
a strange object, we dismiss any fear which may 
arise and investigate it. We ought to do the same 
when our consciousness of something new comes 
through any avenue of perception. 

No one finds fault with his keen eyes which enable 
him to see further or more minutely' than others 
do, though they may inform him of difficulties in 
the way. Instead of finding fault with the diffi- 
culties thus revealed, he rightly prides himself upon 
the possession of fine eyesight and delights in all 
the enjoyment and advantages which it brings. So 



262 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

should each one congratulate himself, and be thank- 
ful for every avenue of information which he pos- 
sesses. 

The thoroughbred horse derives his valuable 
characteristics from his great sensitiveness, which 
enables him to do many things that other horses 
cannot do. In the hands of an incompetent driver 
he can easily be ruined, but in the care of a wise 
one he accomplishes wonders. The driver is the 
one to be blamed for any disaster, and not the horse. 
Just so it is with persons. The difficulty lies in 
their own lack of that wisdom which would enable 
them properly to control themselves. They allow 
their minds to run riot in discordant thinking of 
one kind or another, and in that way ruin themselves 
and bring distress to those around them, all the 
time erroneously blaming it upon their sensitiveness. 

Let no one mistake for sensitiveness that which 
is born of selfishness, jealousy, envy, or egotism, 
for they have no connection whatever. The person 
who is always getting "hurt" by some fancied 
slight, some lack of appreciation or attention, should 
never hide behind the plea of being sensitive, but 
should face the truth squarely and recognize that 

jealousy and self-love not self-respect breed the 
^^""^ "*^ " 

thoughts which wreck his happiness. 



SENSITIVENESS 203 

Sensitiveness has been denounced as the bane of 
many a life. It has been charged with the ruin 
and death of untold thousands, and no one can 
measure the grief which has been laid at its door. 
And yet it was not sensitiveness that did all these 
things, but it was the discordant and erroneous ' 
thinking which its possessor allowed to riot through 
his mind. What has been supposed to be a curse is \ 
really a blessing. The curse is to be found in some- 
thing else. Let each one dismiss discordant thoughts, 
emancipate himself from the condition of a victim, 
and become a victor, happy in the possession of 
such a desirable quality. Use it wisely, as every 
advantage should be used, for one's own benefit 
and for the benefit of others, and it will Drove itself 
an invaluable servant, 



XXXVI 

SYMPATHY 

MUCH is said in these days in praise of sympathy. 
For the purposes of definiteness and proper dis- 
crimination in the consideration of the subject it is 
desirable to have a clear understanding of the mean- 
ing of the word and its necessities and requirements. 
Literally it means feeling identical with that which 
another feels, and its meaning includes the condition 
of being affected by the feelings or emotions of 
another, whether they are of pleasure or of pain. 
Such sensitiveness as would enable one to perceive 
and understand the conditions, physical, emotional, 
and mental, of another is a necessity without which 
theje results could not be attained. This includes 
more than mere external affairs and surroundings. 
There must not only be the ability to perceive and 
understand these, but also the ability to enter quite 
thoroughly and accurately into the whole situation 
and experiences of another; in other words, to put 
one's self exactly in another's place, see from his 

264 



SYMPATHY 365 

point of view, and estimate conditions by his stand- 
ard. All helpful sympathy depends from first to 
last upon a sensitiveness of perception and feeling 
which shall enable one clearly to see the condition 
of another, but with a self-control which shall per- 
mit him to do so without perturbation of spirit or 
any disturbed or disordered thought or feeling. 

Next in order comes the mental action which 
follows this recognition of conditions. As in all 
other events, these two actions, the perception of 
the condition and the thoughts which succeed this 
perception, constitute the two essential elements of 
the activity; and it is as important that this mental 
action should be right as it is that the perception 
of conditions should be correct, because it is this 
mental action which causes, guides, and directs 
all that follows. It is in consequence of erroneous 
action here that most serious mistakes are made. 

It is wholly wrong to allow these recognitions so 
to pervade one's being and so to absorb one's emo- 
tional nature as to unfit him for helpfulness, for the. 
very object of all these mental conditions is to equip 
us so that we may assist one another. Indeed, 
that is one of the primal and important objects of 
life itself, and whatever hinders or injures efficiency 
in that direction is most clearly injurious and wrong. 



266 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

The sight of a burn and one's consciousness of 
the pain it causes may be allowed to suggest think- 
ing which shall so fill the person with keen and realis- 
tic feelings akin to the anguish of the sufferer as to 
exclude all else. This is sympathy; and it is made 
up of the consciousness of the situation, the mental 
actions which follow that consciousness, and the 
physical feelings which are caused by those mental 
actions. All this may be almost instantaneous, 
and so intense as to create physical conditions 
similar to those which were witnessed. This was 
the case of the mother who, on witnessing an ac- 
cident to her child's hand, was herself so moved by 
the sight that her own hand was similarly injured, 
though it was untouched except by her own thinking. 
This is sympathy of the destructive kind. It is 
created and its character is decided by the thinking 
which follows the sight of the accident. The same 
thing is illustrated in the case of the surgeon. If 
he should allow his thoughts to run upon the fears 
of his patient, or if he should fill his mind with 
thoughts of the possible disastrous consequences of 
an accident in the course of the operation, he would 
wholly unfit himself for the work before him and 
prepare himself to make the fatal mistake. 

That this is not exaggeration is seen in the almost 



SYMPATHY 267 

universal experience of a man learning to ride the 
bicycle. Unless he can take his mind off the ob- 
ject with which he is liable to collide and think of 
something else, the collision is certain despite the 
rider's most strenuous efforts. 

Similar mental actions are seen in thousands of 
cases. Too often the sympathizer allows his mind 
to run on painful, discordant, or dangerous conditions 
to the exclusion of all else, literally filling himself 
with similar conditions and utterly destroying any 
possible efficiency in serviceable directions. Too 
many think that this is the essential whole of sym- 
pathy, and that those who fail in this are hard- 
hearted and unsympathetic. That is, they think 
that we must mourn with those who mourn, weep 
with those who weep, be angry with those who 
are angry, despair with those who despair; and so 
on through the whole list of inharmonious thoughts 
and emotions. Unfortunately there is a large class 
of sufferers who are never satisfied unless they 
receive this perverted and pernicious sympathy. 

All this is a serious mistake because it is discordant, 
and discordant sympathy, like all other discord, 
always results in injury to all who entertain it; 
besides, the influence of mind upon mind is such 
that even though no expression is given to the dis- 



268 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

turbing thoughts, yet both parties will be affected bj 
them. 

Why does the wise physician welcome one visitor 
to a patient and deny another? Because one mani- 
fests sympathy in a way that makes the sick person 
forget his pain and look cheerily out toward health 
with thoughts uplifted and hopes renewed. The 
other comes with pitying words and sorrowful looks 
sympathetic to the last degree, but as depressing 
as a wet blanket. The welcome visitor is not wanting 
in sympathy, and his appreciation of the situation 
is as keen and comprehensive as that of the other, 
but he refuses to allow his own mind to be occupied 
with discordant thoughts. He has as much friend- 
liness and affection for the sufferer as the other, but 
is prompted by these emotions instead of by his 
vision of the suffering. This is sympathy of the 
right kind. It is sympathy with the best in man- 
kind instead of the worst, and it results in helpful- 
ness instead of injury. 

We have considered sympathy in its relation to 
suffering, but that is only one of its manifestations. 
In its broader field it touches upon all human 
activities, encouraging, cheering, and stimulating 
mankind, turning failure into success and defeat 
into victory. The sympathy of one strong, fearless 



SYMPATHY 269 

soul has strengthened many a fainting heart and 
has built the bridge over which many have crossed 
from despair to renewed hope and courage. 

In the home, the schoolroom, in business and in 
social life, everywhere, it is sympathy that brings 
harmony and promotes happiness; but it must be 
of the right kind, for emotional sympathy uncon- 
trolled by reason and discrimination, like an in- 
strument badly out of tune, is disturbing and 
annoying. 

This sympathy which hasJts root in sensitiveness, 
when rightly used, is the bond between persons, 
drawing them into the closest mutual relationship 
and enabling them to be the most to each other 
and to do the most for each other. Without it the 
world of human beings would be a mere collection 
or aggregation of integers with little more coherence 
than grains of sand on the seashore. 

Humanity depends upon sympathy far more 
than it realizes and constantly receives it in unnoted 
ways. We do not understand why, but a sense of 
peace and strength comes as we look into some 
face seen perhaps for the first time ; we hear a voice, 
and something within us responds in harmony. 
No one can measure its influence when this sympathy 
goes out from one whose soul is so filled with love 



2 70 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

for all humanity that he has an ear for every heart- 
pulse that is beating. 

It has been said that "next to love sympathy 
is the divinest passion of the human heart." It 
might well be said that true sympathy is born of 
that love which Jesus, the Christ, bade us have for 
one another a love which helps always, which 
is pure in thought and word, and deed; which 
seeks always to elevate and strengthen. Of such 
loving sympathy there can never be too much. It 
may be given full range, for its fruit is always har- 
mony. It has helped thousands back to life, health, 
and happiness; while its opposite, born not of love, 
but of apprehension, fear, and all the mental imag- 
inings of evil which enter into and create destruc- 
tive sympathy, has hurled many other thousands 
toward destruction and death. 



xxx vn 

SUGGESTION '. 

ANALYSIS of the elements of that relationship 
which exists between man and man shows that in 
its more subtle as well as in its more apparent activ- 
ities suggestion plays an important and almost uni- 
versal part. Who is there who has not over and 
over again responded joyously to the hearty laugh 
of a friend or been possessed by the opposite emo- 
tion in response to the sad face of grief, even of a 
stranger? This occurs though one may be ignorant 
of the cause of the laughter or of the tears, and it is 
the result of the suggestions conveyed by outward 
expressions. It operates not only through deeds, 
words, expressions of form and face, but also through 
the unspoken thought. The yawn that goes around 
the room in quick response to the unintended action 
of a single member of the company is full refutation 
of the assertion that suggestions do not have any 
effect. Even the best- poised and most self -controlled 
are not entirely free from their influence. 

271 



272 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

When undecided as to the course to be pursued a 
suggestion from another frequently becomes a turn- 
ing-point to influence the decision. Men, looking 
for something which shall show them the way they 
ought to go, in their dilemma often seek such sug- 
gestions. The frequency of these occasions will be 
surprising to one who has never taken note of them. 
They are not aware that they are fostering a mental 
condition which will render them more susceptible 
to the influence, control, or even to the absolute 
domination of another. They think they exercise 
their own judgment in forming their conclusions 
when really they have been seeking something to 
influence that judgment and to aid them in their 
decision. This is correct enough if the final deci- 
sion is really their own. It is right to seek informa- 
tion and advice from all sources, but at the last one 
should decide the issue independently and of one's 
self. 

Every one is open to the suggestive influence of 
external things as well as to the personal and men- 
tal influence of others. This varies with character, 
temperament, and experience, at last turning chiefly 
on one's control of his thinking. Many are veered 
this way and that by very slight suggestion. This 
is especially noticeable in all weak characters, and 



SUGGESTION 273 

their susceptibility is the cause of their weakness; 
but even the self-reliant and strong are also largely 
influenced by friends and associates, and particu- 
, larly by those whom they believe to be possessed of 
greater ability, experience, or wisdom. The differ- 
ence is great between the weak hypnotic subject who 
stands at one end of the long line and the well-bal- 
anced, self-contained, and self-controlled person 
who stands at the other end; but the difference is 
small between any two who stand next each other in 
that line, and one may glide from one condition 
into the other by insensible degrees. Yet sugges- 
tions do not necessarily control, for every one has re- 
ceived many with which he has not complied, and 
this fact implies the possibility of complete self-con- 
trol even under the most extreme conditions of 
suggestion. 

Wise discretion is necessary on the part of those 
who would wield an influence for good, and this 
furnishes an additional reason for the exercise of 
rigorous mental control for the advantage of others 
as well as for one's own self. A recent writer ex- 
claims : *?How many thousands, nay millions, of 
I poor souls all over the world will have their lives 
I saddened by the drip of your tears who might have 
\been gladdened by the sunlight of your smile!" 









274 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

This may be poetic exaggeration, but after all who 
knows where the suggestive influence of a word, or 
look, or even an unexpressed but positive thought, 
shall cease ? If " the fall of a pebble echoes through- 
out the farthest corridors of the universe," how much 
more may a thought ! 

It is unquestionably a disadvantage to tell an- 
other, whether acquaintance or otherwise, that he is 
"out at the elbows." The strong probability is 
that he knows it already, and an allusion to it will 
tend to rouse discordant thoughts in his mind and 
to intensify those already there, no one knows how 
much to his harm. It would be far wiser to arouse 
harmonious thinking with all its advantages by call- 
ing his attention to some of his desirable or praise- 
worthy qualities, or conditions, thereby encouraging, 
stimulating, and aiding him to overcome whatever 
is objectionable. These better conditions will not 
be difficult to find even in the worst possible person, 
especially if one has trained himself in the habit of 
seeking them. Advantages will as surely follow 
cheerful suggestions as harm will follow depressing 
ones. 

It is being widely recognized that all this is of 
special value in health as well as in morals. The 
wise physician understands that it is his duty to 



SUGGESTION 275 

cultivate confidence and cheerfulness not only in his I 
words but in the expression of his face, the tone of \ \ 
his voice, and his whole manner toward his patient. 

Hudson says of disease induced by erroneous sug- 
gestion that it is safe to say that nine-tenths of all ^ 
the ailments of the human family may be traced to 
this source. 1 

Albert Moll, who is good scientific authority on 
this topic, and who cannot be accused of exaggera- 
tion, says in his work on hypnotism: "There are 
few people who are not injured when they are assured 
on all sides that they look ill, and I think many 
have been as much injured by this cumulative pro- 
cess as if they had been poisoned." 2 

A single well-authenticated case of intentional 
suggestion will illustrate the disasters which may 
result. In one of the shops of a large manufactur- 
ing company a young man of vigorous health was 
subjected to the "practical jokes" of his fellow- 
workmen. One morning a half-dozen of them sta- 
tioned themselves just out of sight of each other 
along the way he was to go to his daily work. The 
first one accosted him pleasantly with inquiries after 
his health and with various assertions that he was 
not looking well. To all this he responded accord- 

1 The Evolution of the Soul, p. 295. * Hypnotism, p. 357. 



276 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

ing to the fact ; he, had enjoyed a good night's sleep, 
had eaten a hearty breakfast, and felt well in every 
way. To the suggestion that he must have a head- 
ache he answered in the negative. The next one 
he met had questions and statements like the first, 
only a little more positive in their character. To 
these he did not respond with so much confidence as 
at first. His positiveness decreased as each succeed- 
ing fellow-workman whom he encountered met him 
with stronger assurances of his ill health, until at 
last, by these repeated suggestions, he was really 
convinced that he was ill. On his arrival at the 
shop, instead of going to his work he went to the 
superintendent, asked for leave because of sickness, 
went home, and was sick in bed two weeks under 
the care of a physician. Of course the adept in 
mental self-control would avoid all this by refusing 
to allow the presence in his mind of the discordant 
thoughts which had been suggested. 

But it is not alone among the joking workmen of 
the shops that this sort of thing occurs. Dr. Arthur 
T. Schofield narrates the following: "Two medical 
men were walking together, and one was saying that 
he could make a man ill by merely talking to him. 
The other doubted this. So, seeing a laborer in a 
field, the first speaker went up to him and, telling 



SUGGESTION 277 

him' he did not like his appearance, proceeded to 
diagnose some grave disease. The man was pro- 
foundly struck, left off work soon after, feeling very ' 

i it . I 

ill, took to his bed, and in a week died; no suffi- l| . , 
cient physical cause being found." * 

In an article on hypnotism, which is only an 
extreme form of suggestion, is governed by similar 
fundamental principles, acts through similar men- 
tal methods, and differs from it more in its complete- 
ness than otherwise, Dr. Menard sets forth the in- 
jurious effects and possibilities of suggestion. He 
says: "When a subject is in the state of hypnosis, i 
his mind accepts without control the ideas that are 
suggested to him, and these ideas are translated into 
actions. . . . The subject who is persuaded that 
he cannot raise his arm, open his eyes, rise from his 
chair, or cross a threshold, really experiences those 
forms of paralysis. He cannot move, because he is 1 
convinced of the impossibility of movement. In t 
hypnosis, with or without sleep, if you give your 
subject a glass of water to drink, telling him it is a 
strong purgative, he will experience its effect, as if 
it had been so really. . . . 

" The idea need not have been Introduced into the / 

mind during hypnosis and by another person; it I 

' j 

1 The Force of Mind; or, the Mental Factor in Medicine, p. 96. / 



278 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

1 1 \ may spring up in the mind in an apparently spon- 
taneous fashion, following a strong emotion due t6 
the erroneous interpretation of a special sensation. 
The individual who believes himself ill is really so ; 
he is not an imaginary sick man, but a man who is 
sick because of his imagination. He may, as in 
hypnotic experiments, be dyspeptic or paralyzed or 
drunk by auto-suggestion. ... A conscious or 
subconscious fixed idea is the cause of the whole 
trouble." 

In other words, the change of the mind whether 
that change occurs in consequence of the silent dic- 
tum of the hypnotist, or in response to the verbal 
suggestion of a friend, or because of a suggestion 
received from some external action or condition, or 
even in the course of one's own thinking and from 
i one's own conclusions really produces in the 
physical structure those conditions which have been 
/ taken note of and accepted by the mind asjreaJ ; and 
this occurs wholly regardless of the fact that those 
conditions did not have any existence outside of the 
thinker's own mentality. 

What a wrong it is, then, even though with the 
best intentions, to say to a person sitting by an open 
window, "Aren't you afraid you will take cold?" 

1 Cosmos (Paris), June 4, 1904. 



SUGGESTION 27$ 

The more earnest the speaker, the more surely will 
the injury be inflicted. According to Dr. Menard, 
the cold is far more liable to be caused by the sug- 
gestion than by the exposure, and therefore the sug- 
gestion is the more dangerous of the two. How often 
at the table is heard the remark, "I am afraid that 
will hurt you." This habit persistently followed is 
more certain to cause injury than any kind of inju- 
rious food. The same is true of a thousand simi- 
lar well-meant cautions which any one can recall 
from his own experience. 

The number of cases is innumerable where care- 
ful, anxious, painstaking, and conscientious mothers, 
by their needless caution and care-taking, and by 
their persistent suggestions of danger from cold, wet 
feet, drafts, overexertion, and the thousand and 
one other things which overanxiety presents to their 
minds, have planted inability, effeminacy, decay, 
disease, misery, and even death in the minds and 
bodies of the children they love so well and care for | 
so anxiously. Similar error is wrought, not alone by 
mothers, but by relatives, friends, acquaintances, and 
incidental associates through their well-meant but 
erroneous cautions, which are really suggestions \ 
of impending evil. Herein is at least one reason why 
the children of the poor are so often more vigorous^ \ 



280 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

hardy, and healthy than those of the wealthy. 
These mothers have something else to do besides to 
suggest evils to their children, and they do not have 
time to educate them into disease, so the children 
escape the infliction and are happier all their 
lives. 

Two things are worthy of note in this connection. 
One is that the principle will work both ways. If, 
as Menard says, change of mind will produce these 
ills, a change of mind to the contrary direction will 
cure them when once contracted. A guest who was 
a confirmed dyspeptic and afraid to eat any but the 
simplest food, was encouraged by his hostess, who 
assured him with much positiveness that no one was 
ever injured by anything eaten at her table. He 
yielded to her suggestion, ate a good meal, partak- 
ing of several articles of food which he had thought 
were harmful, and was not injured. This experi- 
ence so changed his mind that he lost his fear, con- 
tinued to eat, and his dyspepsia of years' standing 
was cured. Numerous similar instances of helpful 
suggestion might be given. 

The other point worthy of note is that if one has 
so trained his mind as to exclude the harmful sug- 
gestion, never allowing lodgement of the noxious 
mental seed, he will have complete immunity from 



SUGGESTION 8l 

all such harm. But to do this in the face of the 

persistent endeavors of the "calamity howlers' 1 
necessitates both skill and tact, because no class of 
a community is more thoroughly convinced that 
they are right, and none more sincere and persistent 
in their well-meant but pernicious endeavors. Their 
motive is right. It is their method that is wrong. 
They thoroughly believe all 1 that they say, really 
are solicitous for the welfare of their friends, and 
often are greatly disturbed if their suggestions are 
not heeded. These suggestions would soon cease 
if one would keep his own mind steadily poised and 
admit no discordant thoughts. 

Of the same class are those who pursue a similar 
course toward their friends in the sick room, and 
toward those who complain of sickness in any de- \ 
gree. They commiserate them, tell them how badly 
they look, "sympathize" with them with the "sym- 
pathy" which destroys, and enlarge upon the more 
serious phases of their disease. These people seem 
happy when they can tell one who is ill about the 
extreme suffering of others in a like condition ; and 
if they know of some one who has died of a similar 
disease they retail all the particulars to the sufferer 
who lies there at their mercy. This kind of consola- 
tion for the sick has a wonderful fascination for 



282 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

those who indulge in it, and they think them* 
selves comforters, but in reality they are human 
vampires. 

Such a habit indicates unhealthy, morbid mental 
conditions. Its viciousness need not be enlarged 
upon, but it cannot be too strongly condemned. No 
one should need even a hint that he ought to avoid 
all such suggestions of evil either to the sick or to 
the well. Yet large numbers who recognize the 
correctness of the general position here set forth 
thoughtlessly indulge themselves in the vice, for 
vice it is. What more can be said to influence such 
persons to better ways? A multitude of publica- 
tions set forth the evils which such a course entails, 
but it is worth another effort if even a single person 
is restrained by these words. 

Looked at from one point of view, such sugges- 
tions are little short of criminal. We are eager to 
stop the career of him who robs another of his ma- 
terial possessions, and he who poisons another's 
food is held to be a murderer, yet people go on 
poisoning the minds of their associates and robbing 
them of their birthright of health and happiness, and 
no one is held accountable. If it were possible, 
there ought to be a law prohibiting such suggestions, 
with due penalties for their utterance; but, better 



\ 



SUGGESTION 283 

still, each one may make such a law for himself and 
then obey it. 

If we desire habitually to scatter sunshine and 
health among our fellows wherever we meet them, 
not only our deeds and words, but our facial expres- 
sions and our thoughts themselves, must be well con- 
trolled and cheerful. If the right mental habits are 
established, all the external expressions will take care 
of themselves without attention or effort, and our 
presence alone will carry suggestions of gladness 
wherever we go. 



xxxvm 

HYPNOTIC CONTROL 

THERE is a broad and well-recognized sphere of 
personal influence which, though widely discussed, 
is not fully understood, and extremely conflicting 
opinions are held about it. It assumes a multitude 
of forms, sometimes exerts very positive control over 
others, and is the result of peculiar conditions which 
in some of their phases have received a very large 
amount of systematic investigation, though the in- 
vestigators have not reached an absolute agreement 
among themselves. 

Students of these phenomena, whether or not they 
accept the more extreme doctrines of telepathy, 
sooner or later become convinced that there is some 
means of communicating thoughts and mental con- 
ditions other than the more apparent methods of 
speech, facial expression, gesture, and other action. 
Some deny that these expressions exist except as 
figments of imagination ; but the strong tendency of 
scientific investigation is toward the opinion expressed 



HYPNOTIC CONTROL 285 

by a recent writer, "that thoughts pass in their own 
subtle, silent way from mind to mind, and that no 
man can think, however secretly, without spreading 
the influence of his thought into the minds around 
him." 

Open as most of us are to the influence of verbal 
suggestion, there is something more subtle which 
may control us without our being aware of it. This 
particular phase of personal influence finds its most 
extreme and perhaps its worst form in what has 
been called by the various names of mesmerism, 
animal magnetism, and more recently hypnotism. 
According to later authorities it is suggestion by 
means of either the vocalized or unvocalized think- 
ing which controls the hypnotized person. We have 
no means of knowing how often this is the case in 
ordinary life when there is no intention to hypnotize 
and where none of its formalities are used. Through \ 
it one mind may control another with more or less j 
of an approach toward an absoluteness which is 
sometimes complete, and it is an important question 
whether there is a defence against these varied sug- 
gestive influences in any or all of their manifold 
forms. 

The mental habit of the vast majority of mankind 
is to follow any suggestion that presents itself with- 



286 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

out much direct control of one's own thinking unless 
the subject is widely outside the ordinary track. 
Random thinking is the rule with some persons, 
whether it be merely aimless revery; the more or 
less ecstatic drift of thought set up by sensuous sur- 
roundings of various kinds, as light, color, or sound; 
the self-suggested mental action arising from the 
memory of some past experience; the suggestive 
word, or even the mere presence of another person. 
These mental activities may be either pleasant to 
the extent of intoxication or uncomfortable to the 
extent of acute pain and distress; all of them are 
injurious, and their indulgence is a worse than use- 
less waste of time. 

It appears most remarkable that no worse con- 
sequences have followed uncontrolled, aimless, 
objectless, haphazard, random mental action. For- 
tunately, not all thinking is of this kind; and, for- 
tunately for the good of the race, more often than 
otherwise the general tendency of this unguided 
thinking is toward more desirable things, because 
every man is really seeking that which he considers 
an improvement over his present condition or attain- 
ment, and his thinking follows his strongest incli- 
nation without any intentional control. But the 
person who has really assumed full control of his 



HYPNOTIC CONTROL 387 

thinking and maintains it stands on a pedestal which 
cannot be shaken. He guides his thoughts where 
he will and can bid defiance to suggestions of every 
kind. He is consciously himself, and not a weather- 
vane to be veered about by every breath of influence. 

The prominent characteristic of the fully devel- 
oped hypnotic state is a condition wherein the nor- 
mal mental powers are either dulled, suspended, or 
in a state of abeyance, so that the mind accepts 
without inquiry any statement and obeys without 
objection any command suggested to it or thrust 
upon it. Hence, the man's thinking being con- 
trolled, his actions are controlled also. This is the 
last step in personal influence. A man in this con- 
dition is no longer free, because in abandoning the 
control of his mind he has surrendered his freedom. 
He is so completely the slave of another that he is 
no longer himself, but is merely a machine, an au- 
tomaton, a puppet, acting solely by another's guid- 
ance and without any initiative, choice, or will of 
his own. 

Such abandonment of one's self to the control of 
another cannot be anything but criminal on the part 
of the one who purposely permits it, and also on the 
part of the one who induces the condition. Suicide , 
may be worse, but this is temporary suicide, for the 



288 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

man has allowed his own self to become inactivCj 
and for the time he is dead. The worst result of it 
all is that this condition may be continued even into 
his "waking moments," so that a long time aftei 
the hypnotic state is supposed to have ceased, his 
actions are sometimes controlled by the suggestions 
received during his hypnotic condition. In view of 
these acknowledged post-hypnotic actions of the vic- 
tims it is impossible for any one to tell how far into 
the future this influence may extend nor how inclu- 
sive it may be. 

This hypnotic condition and its results are possi- 
ble only when a person has habitually allowed his 
mind to follow in any direction toward which ex- 
ternal circumstances pointed, and has thus made 
himself an easy prey for the hypnotist, who depends 
for his success upon his ability to control the think- 
ing of his subject. Self-control and its abandon- 
ment are exact opposites, and both cannot exist at 
the same time in one person. The contrast between 
them indicates at once the advantage of one and 
the disadvantage of the other. If mental self-con- 
trol is desirable, then it should be constantly main- 
tained and ought never to be weakened by indulgence 
in its opposite. In the mental condition which will 
result from exercising the control advocated in these 



HYPNOTIC CONTROL 289 

pages, every suggestion, regardless of its source, 
whether mental or otherwise, will be examined and 
the kind and character of the thinking which shall 
follow will be decided upon by the thinker himself 
in compliance with his own understanding, choice, 
or judgment. If a^jjerson purposely controls his 
thinking at all times until the habit is well established, 
then the habit itself, without conscious effort, will 
work in the same direction. The mental action of 
such a person is always within his own personal 
volition and is controlled absolutely by himself; 
therefore hypnotic suggestion has no power over 
him, and he possesses complete immunity from all 
such influence. 

The man who has habituated himself to supremacy 
over his own thinking is not only uncontrolled by 
the external suggestions of which he is aware, but 
also by those more subtle ones of which he may not 
be conscious, because his own mental action of 
which he is not conscious is so dominated by this 
habit of self-control that the thinking of others 
cannot influence him. This means that the power 
of habit may be so strong that even a man's mental 
action of which he is not aware is, unconsciously 
to himself, wholly in abeyance to his own choice. 
Such a man is free. 



290 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

Here is not only efficient protection against aft 
hypnotic or mesmeric intrusion, but also against all 
forms of improper or injurious external personal 
influences of every kind whatever. He who con- 
trols his own thoughts lives in his own castle, which 
may be absolutely impregnable against assault from 
within or without, whether insidious or open, 
whether mild or violent. God means it to be so. 
The man who does not thus have mastery of himself 
is short of his own stature. The physically strong 
may feel no self-confidence unless to their physical 
strength they have added control of their thinking. 
Neither need the physically weak be frightened 
because of their weakness, for neither physical 
strength nor weakness is a factor in the case. With- 
out the exercise of any physical strength whatever, 
each may maintain perfect mental control, thus 
insuring absolute freedom to himself. 



xxxrx 

ENVIRONMENT 

IT is generally believed that man is to a very 
large extent, if not wholly, subject to his environ- 
ment, mentally and physically the creature of ex- 
ternal circumstances or conditions and their sugges- 
tions. While it is substantially true that in man's 
present state, the stimulus from environment largely 
decides his course and development, yet a little 
attention to the statement of basic principles herein 
set forth will show that this submission is not neces- 
sary, and that man may become independent of 
environment and largely if not completely its master. 
An examination of historic conditions should con- 
vince the most sceptical that too much importance 
has been attributed to the influence of man's sur- 
roundings. 

The influence of climate has been held to be 
largely the reason for the various conditions of 
human beings in different localities, but it was not 
a change in climatic conditions which caused the 



RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

changes in the character of the inhabitants of Eng- 
land. The climate of that country is now sub- 
stantially what it was centuries ago, and if it has 
changed at all, that change is vastly less than the 
changes in the character of the people. Does some 
one say this is a case of development? Very true; 
but that development is the result of a mental change, 
and not of any change in environment except such 
as the changes in thinking have produced. 

Changes of thinking have created the differences 
between the conditions of the inhabitants of Europe 
before the time of the Caesars and their condition 
to-day, but not change of climate nor any other 
change in their natural environment. In many 
points they have demonstrated their superiority over 
environment, and by artificial means they have 
modified environment itself. This is true of all 
Europe. 

Look at the varying stages of progress in the 
different epochs of Greece and Rome in their 
earlier days, in the zenith of their prosperity, in the 
degradation of their downfall, and in these modern 
times each stands out distinct from either of 
the others. It was changes of thought which 
wrought the revolutions not changes of environ- 
ment* 



ENVIRONMENT 

The Egypt of the Pharaohs had the same sun and 
air, the same soil and water, that she has to-day, 
but what are her rulers and people now compared 
with those of the ancient centuries ! In the days of 
their glory their environment was the same as to- 
day, but the thoughts of that period have been lost. 
The change that is now going on in that country 
is not due to climate, but to ideas. Babylonia and 
Assyria need only to be named as further examples. 

The American Indians had inhabited this conti- 
nent for centuries, but they did not develop along 
the same lines as the white men who thrust them- 
selves into that environment; yet the climate and 
soil remain practically the same. Changes of envi- 
ronment have been made by the new inhabitants, 
but not changes in the characteristics of the inhabit- 
ants by the environment. All the differences here 
are clearly the result of a change of the inhabitants, 
bringing different thoughts, ambitions, and aspira- 
tions, and these are at the foundation of the new 
development. 

In the great southwest of the United States a 
second change of inhabitants has taken place. 
That region was settled by the Spanish earlier than 
was New England. Its first change in condition 
was distinctly along certain lines of thinking pe- 



294 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

culiar to the Spaniard. The last seventy-five years 
have seen all that revolutionized, not by change of 
climate, but by the introduction of another people 
with other characteristics of thought. The climate 
did not make the changes nor create either of these 
three kinds of civilization. That was done by 
thinking alone, and by the actions which that think- 
ing necessitated. The climate is the same that it 
has been from earliest history, but, by the domination 
of a new set of ideas over the environment, even the 
face of nature has been changed. 

It is true that the environment of man in America 
is very largely different from what it was when 
Columbus discovered the continent, but man has < 
made those changes in response to the demands of 
his own thinking. He has modified temperature 
by erecting houses and providing facilities for warm- 
ing them. He has modified atmospheric conditions 
by cutting down trees, constructing irrigating canals, 
and cultivating the soil. These changes were 
caused by artificial means in obedience to the mind 
of man. Nature did none of it except in response 
to man's action. 

When properly considered, history shows that ( 
mind modifies, changes, and controls with less re- 
gard to external conditions than is usually supposed. 



ENVIRONMENT 295 

Admit that in the extremes of heat and cold, of 
fertility and barrenness, environment dominates: 
but even these have been to a large extent modified 
and overcome by what mind has done. The arid 
plains of Arizona and New Mexico, like those of 
Babylonia and Assyria, were once fertile fields 
made so by irrigation, while what were once deserts 
of our own great West are fast becoming fertile fields. 

The case is plain. The facts of history already 
cited apply to the entire environment as well as to 
each incident or condition of it. Thinking is the 
initial action, the antecedent and cause of all human 
actions. Between any external condition or in- 
cident and the bodily action which follows stands 
the person's own thinking. Not the external con- 
dition or occurrence, but the thinking, determines 
what the bodily action shall be and its entire char- 
acter. This thinking, as has so often been said, 
may^be entirely within man's control; therefore he 
himself, and not his environment, is responsible for 
the results, be they good or bad. 

Men say that certain circumstances force them- 
selves upon them and make certain lines of conduct 
necessary; and this declaration appears to be true, 
but that is because they allow it to be so. What- 
ever seems to force man out of his way might have 



296 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

been overcome by appropriate mental action, and 
the difficulty might have been obviated. 

The whole world is trying to excuse itself for 
many of its failures, evil conditions, and actions 
by charging the responsibility to environment. 
The blame is attributed to everything contiguous 
not alone to persons, but animals, insensible 
things, and the most trivial conditions. Nothing 
is entirely exempt. The weather comes in for a 
large share, and even the stars are held responsible 
for our wrongdoing. 

It is true that the external incident or condition/ 
serves to set in motion certain trains of thought/ 
and these vary in different persons inexact accordanc^ 
with their varying opinions and habits of thinking, 
but one is not necessarily subject to these thoughts. /{ 
He can control them; and, furthermore, a man 
who has learned to exercise this control can instantly 
separate the wheat from the tares in his mental 
kingdom, and discard whatever is worthless or 
harmful. It is all under his own control. 

This is self-activity, and Harris well says: ".Self- 
activity is essentially different from relative and 
dependent being, because it does not receive its 
determinations from its environment, but originates 
them itself in the form of feelings, volitions, and 



ENVIRONMENT 297 

thoughts." * All activity other than self -activity 
may be discarded, and man may thus free himself 
from the thraldom of environment. fiTo mail is 
ever forced into any course of conduct, though he 
may fall into it by allowing a change in his thinking. 
/ If this statement of the principle is correct, then 
/the external suggestion, condition, incident, or 
[ thing does not decide what a man's action shall be 
1 \except as he allows it to do so; neither do any one 
nor all of those things which surround him neces- 
sarily give any more than merely incidental tone 
or direction to his actions. Mind is supreme, even \ 

I I I * , y \ 

over itself, in that it determines its own activities. 
\ Jt is not the thing without, but the thought within, 
which injures. The dyspeptic sitting at the table 

I '"KHMMMMMMaMM** J r r 

loaded with viands is not injured by the food he 
does not eat. Poison does not kill unless it is 
swallowed and absorbed. The thought suggested 
by the word one hears or the action one sees that 
is, by the environment does not injure unless 
it finds lodgement within a person's own mind. 



Whether it finds such lodgement or not depends upon 
the hearer and not upon the speaker. The speaker's 
words may be entirely without influence upon the 
hearer, they may not even be consciously audible, 

1 Psychologic Foundations of Education, p. 4. 



II 



298 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

and this is decided by the hearer's own course of 
thinking. Each man is impervious to another's 
thoughts and uninfluenced by them until he allows 
his own thoughts to go the same way. The choice 
is his own, and that choice decides his action. 

It makes no difference what knowledge one may 
have of the underlying principles and methods of 
any course of action, nor how good one's sentiments 
and intentions may be, if he does not take advantage 
of every opportunity to use those principles and 
methods in the practical application of them to 
existent conditions. Nor will anything be accom- 
plished by the casual thought which occupies the 
mind for an instant only, nor by the forced thought ./ 
which is held for a brief time in contradiction to, 
the settled conviction. Such thinking is but slightly 
operative, because of its light and transitory char- 
acter. It is the habitual, determined thinking | 
arising out of settled convictions and opinions 

^JS.**!"*""" *"**""**""*"""""**^" j 

which brings results. 



/ By this persistence in right thinking man may \ 

/ rise so superior to his environment that it shall/ 

\jot injure him. This is seen in a thousand small . 

ways, all of which point to the larger possibilities ) 

which are within reach, and these to others still 

beyond. One person's mental attitude toward the 



ENVIRONMENT 299 

weather is such that changes of temperature, drafts, 
wet feet, damp clothing, and a thousand other 
minor conditions bring illness of more or less severe 
character, while another goes through them all 
with absolute impunity. One person will remain f 
out in the storm of wind, or rain, or snow, wet to 
the skin, and suffer no inconvenience, while another 
who has to cross a damp floor must put on over- 
shoes or risk a cold or influenza. That these are 
the results of mental conditions is proven by the 
fact that multitudes of people have emancipated 
themselves from this servitude by a change of mental 
habit which they have themselves purposely brought 
about. If one person can do this, another can; 
and if it can be done in the lesser conditions, it can 
in the greater also, and so on and on in greater still, 
without limit. 

It is not claimed that all physical occurrences 
are now within man's control. The rock falls on a 
man and crushes him. The fire burns him. The 
frost freezes him. The water drowns him. He 
has submitted himself to the influences of the ad- 
verse forces of nature in minor particulars until, 
in these extreme conditions, they dominate him 
utterly. But it has been shown by actual experi- 
ment that he is their master within a certain range \ 



300 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

of circumstances, and that he may still further 
extend the scope of his control. In the light of the 
things which have already been accomplished it 
becomes evident that man shall yet so understand 
the power of mind and the principles on which it 
acts as to assume control over all environment, 
and thus place himself in the position set forth in 
the story of his creation as we find it in the first 
chapter of Genesis, wherein he is given dominion 
over all the things of the earth. 1 

Who dares to say what the conditions will be when 
all men, as is their right, assume absolute control 
of their thinking? It rests with man himself to 

I decide whether he will continue to be the creature 
of his surroundings, moulded and shaped and di- 
rected by them, or will become absolutely superior 
to the physical world about him. This is a re- 
versal of present and past opinions, but when 

f accurate reasoning is applied to the principles 
which govern the actions of mankind, a possibility 
of achievement in overcoming what are now thought 
to be dominating external conditions will be opened 
to view, such as the wildest visionaries of human 
progress have hardly dared to contemplate. This 
is to be the special work of the twentieth century. 

1 Genesis i. 26. 



XL 
EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 

THE doctrine that in the present social conditions 
the innocent very often suffer because of the acts 
of the vicious and guilty is widely, if not universally, 
accepted as true, though always accompanied by a 
keen sense of its injustice. The proposition under 
present consideration approaches this doctrine from 
a different point of view. Correct reasoning must 
rest upon accurate statements of principle, and must 
be followed out with logical accuracy and in exact 
compliance with such statements, else the conclu- 
sion will be erroneous. The conclusions reached 
by this exact reasoning may be in direct contradic- 
tion to all sense perceptions; they may even be, 
seemingly, beyond belief; but this does not in any 
degree affect their accuracy. In every advance 
made in the interpretation of the principles of 
truth there has been heard the cry : "This is an hard 
saying ; who can bear it ? " 

i We have seen that thinking is the first action 
301 



302 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

arising from a person's consciousness of an t::ternal 
incident or condition, and that, whatever its form 
or intensity, it may be so perfectly under the thinker's 
control that he may stop it instantly in any stage 
of its progress, and substitute in its place that which 
is wholly different in character and tendency. We 
have seen that in every case the actions which follow 
take their character from the thinking; therefore 
those actions, like .the tnough'ts wluch produce 

jii^^B<j>w"Mjii*'iiMM<iHMi<iitniMiniiMiinHnriTi'r--i T- Am , 

them, are one's own. Thus the resultant actions 
and conditions are shaped and directed by the person 
himself. This places the responsibility for all one's 1 
actions and conditions, as well as for their conse- 
quences, wholly upon the actor himself, and prevents 
him from justly shifting the responsibility upon 
any one else. 

The fact that men do not control their thinking 
does not change the basic proposition, nor the 
reasoning which has been applied to it, nor the con- 
clusions arrived at, and therefore does not shift the 
responsibility. Men can change their thinking if ] 
they choose. Whatever the course pursued, it is one's 
own act in every case. The man who sees the'com- 
ing locomotive and does not get out of the way is 
just as responsible for the events which follow as ' 
the man who chooses to throw himself in front of 



EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 303 

it. Neither of them can rightly charge the blame 
upon the engineer. What happens to the man is 
the consequence of his own course, because his own 
thinking and his consequent acting stood between 
the sight of the on-rushing engine and the result; 
had his thinking and actions been different, the 
results would have been different also. 

It may be true that at the time of his thinking 
the man was ignorant of some essential condition. 

,i , --- - --. i 'V- -MIII mi "" ~ *''' *' " *-"- -ni , ,, |r _ .. 11 , ..fM.-.. 

Ignorance is very often a most important factor in 

~ I --""Til III I I-,,, m ,,,.-,. . ||1f *, 1 ^JP^^^*>^^^Mi 

a train of circumstances, but it does not modify the 
foregoing position, because it still remains that in 
either condition, with or without the ignorance, 
the action or the failure to act is the thinker's own. 
Even his ignorance is probably the result of his 
own course at some previous time. The engineer 
is never held responsible on the ground that the 
man crossing the track just around the curve did 
not know the train was coming. The legal maxim, 
old as law itself, "Ignorance of the law excuses no | 
man," is an illustration of the principle, and it 
applies here as well as in purely legal affairs. In- 
deed, it would not apply there if it were not uni- 
versally true. 

Much time and many circumstances may intervene 
between the thinking and its final and objectionable 



304 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

results ; and though that fact may increase the diffi- 
culty of discovering the erroneous thought which 
was really the cause, yet this does not change the 
principle nor its application, nor does it shift the 
responsibility. It only emphasizes the necessity for I 
the correct solution of each particular problem at the 
time it arises. 

It may be urged that by the law of heredity the 
"sins of the fathers are visited upon their children." 
Let it be granted that this is so, and that the born 
cripple is not himself the cause of his own suffering, 
nor that the infant starving because of a drunken 
parent brought its miseries upon itself indeed, 
let it be granted that a very large share if not all 
the suffering which comes to children before they 
have arrived at the age of responsibility is caused I 
by another, and that they are not responsible for 
it yet these facts are exceptions, and the condi- 
tions are exceptional. Even if the law of heredity 
holds, the principle also holds that their condition 
is the result of thinking, though it may be the think- | 
ing of their ancestors. The thinking of the child 
begins very early and increases rapidly, and so far 
as his thinking is his own the responsibility for it 
is his own also, so that when he has arrived at 
maturity he is himself responsible for all those 



EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 305 

sufferings which arise from his erroneous thinking. 
That he has not been educated in the principles of 
thought control and is therefore ignorant of them 
is his misfortune, but it in no way relieves him of 
his responsibility. Whatever tendencies a man may 

fMMMM4MkMf i m i ii ^, 

have had at his birth, it is alwavs within his power vX^ 

*L 

afterward to change those tendencies by a change 
of thinking. 

A proof of this position is seen in the fact that most 
of the really great heroes and reformers of the ) 
world have come from what is called "the lower 
orders." Jesus himself was not an exception. He 
had few or none of those advantages of association, 
education, training, and the like, which are sup- 
posed to aid a man in his career. These were \ 
possessed by the scribes, Pharisees, and priests; 
but those men did not institute any reform, though 
they were all the time trying to amend the ways ' 
of individuals and of society, and were the custodians 
of the social and moral welfare of their day and time. 
Jesus had never been taught in the schools ; he was 
not even from "the leading classes of society"; 
yet he leads the world. He was not a priest edu- 
cated in any religion; yet he enunciated principles 
which are changing and will continue to change 
the religion and morals of the entire world until 



300 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

it shall conform to his teaching. Is it urged that 
he possessed supernatural ability? The career of 
Mahomet was similar in these respects, and did 
he have the aid of the supernatural? "Out of the 
ranks" have the great reformers come. 

Since the earliest days man has attributed his x 
own errors, failures, disasters, and crimes to what 
some one else has done or has failed to do. The 
almost universal desire to throw the blame for 
one's own conduct upon another seems to be a 
characteristic of human nature, and this error has 
provoked a vast amount of wrong thinking by which 
even the error itself has been maintained and per- 
petuated. 

The suffering of the good wife is very often at- 
tributed to the wrong actions of the erring husband ; 
but it was her own thinking which brought her to 
her present situation. We have seen clearly that 
it is neither surrounding circumstances nor the 
acts of another, but our own thinking, which pro- 
duces both bodily and mental conditions. Her 
husband may be a drunkard; and years ago she 
may have thought, as many girls do, that there 
is no harm in an occasional glass, or even that 
to take it is a praiseworthy exhibition of manly , 
freedom. She suffers from his neglect or even 



EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 307 

from his blows because through her erroneous ' 
thinking, perhaps only yesterday, perhaps years 
ago, she placed herself in a position which gave 
him the opportunity. If she had thought differently, 
her course would have been different, and the evil 
that followed would never have resulted. 

But the case is even stronger than this. Though 
the husband has done the worst things possible, 
yet her suffering is from her own thoughts alone, ( 
because that is the order of nature. She had the 
power to change her thinking and exclude discordant 
thoughts from her mind about him and his acts, 
and to have done this would have changed her 
whole succeeding course and condition, both men- 
tally and physically. The mental pain does not 
follow unless there is permitted in one's own self i 
the mental cause for it, neither does the physical 
pain follow the blow unless the mental discord ' 
occurs also. This is the ultimate position, and it is 
the correct one. 

Because of lifelong habit, the strong tendency in 
such cases is to brood over the unfortunate condi- ! 
tions and mentally to blame and to condemn the 
erring husband and to expect nothing better from 
him. In this way love soon dies out of the heart, 
and bitterness takes its place. If, instead, the wife 



308 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

will train herself to keep her mind free from criti- 
cism and condemnation, to fill it with thoughts of 
whatever good she has recognized in her husband, 
and persistently to hold fast to her faith that he will 
turn back to the right and assert his manhood, she 
will not only change her own condition, but in time 
will reap her reward in the reformation of her hus- 
band. As it was with the teacher in a small thing 
so will it be with her in large things. The law 

** *-* - 

which governs the falling pebble is the same law 
which controls the motion of the earth. She should 
eliminate the discordant thoughts from her own 
mind and substitute harmonious ones in their 
places, and in exactly the same degree in which she 
accomplishes this change in herself will be the change 
for the better in her husband. An easy task ? No ; 
but was anything worth while ever accomplished 
without strenuous, persistent effort ? 

Because few are willing to undertake the mental I 
training necessary to accomplish this result does i 
not change the fact. Electricity is the same .to-day j 
that it has been in all preceding centuries, but it 
is not the fault of electricity that men have not 
used it. 

The principle here set forth does not in any case 
exonerate the one who does the wrong. The liar, 



EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 309 

me thief, the murderer, and every one who does 
any evil whatsoever is himself wholly responsible 
for what he does and can in no way escape the con- 
sequences of his acts. Whatever responsibility be- 
longs to his victim is no excuse for the one who 
inflicts the wrong. Each alike ought to avoid his 
own causative acts, and thus he will avoid their 
consequences. Each is a sufferer; and his suffer- 
ing is from his own hand, and upon his own head, 
and is the consequence of his own acts. 

Is this a hard doctrine? No, it is not, because 
at the same time that it irrevocably fixes the respon- 
sibility it shows how the error and the suffering 
may be avoided. That the principle is unchange- 
able is its virtue, and not its defect. Twice two is . 
always four, and principle always acts in the same 

way whether in mathematics or in morals. It only 

* - .-.' 

remains for man to recognize the principle and | 
act in compliance with it. " 

The conditions are the same, even in the supreme 
illustration of all, which is here approached with 
reverence. It is said that the sinless Jesus suffered 
for the sins of a guilty world, and in one view of 
the event this is true. In another it is wholly un- 
true. His whole course, including its culmination, j ( 
was the result of his own action of his own 



310 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

thinking indeed, of his own deliberate choice. 
The temptation in the wilderness indicates clearly 
that he then Tecotw^faTconditiorx and sa* 
that he might make himself the dictator of the 
world instead nf feffippjny tfrg virtipi of the p^jll- 
dices of men. His public entry into Jerusalem, 
only a week before his crucifixion, shows that it 
was not even then too late to change his course, 
save himself from the cross, and become the politi- 
cal ruler of Judea and of the world; and some of 
the recorded events indicate that he understood 
this clearly, yet he deliberately chose what he would 
do. Later still, at the time of his arrest, when he 
directed that all forcible opposition should cease, 
he showed that he was following the course he had 
mentally decided upon beforehand; and even then 
he might have reversed all the subsequent proceed- 
ings, for he said to Peter: "Thinkest thou that I 
cannot pray to my Father, and He shall presently 
give, me more than twelve legions of angels?" The 
evidence is incontestable that he could have avoided 
the crucifixion. Instead, he chose it ! Then he 
was responsible for the consequences. When we 
think beyond the cross, as we can do now, and 
think on the tremendous results for good which 
followed his choice, made with full knowledge of 



EACH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIMSELF 31! 

I the consequences to himself, we may well be over- I 
Whelmed with awe. 

This view does not detract in the least from its 
impressiveness. On the contrary, the fact that it 
was done with full knowledge of the conditions 
and of the more immediate results, as well as with 
the ability to avoid them, and therefore that it 
was purely voluntary on his part and an act for 
which, so far as he was concerned, he was himself 
wholly responsible, only adds to its sublimity and 
majesty. It was his slayers who knew not what 
they did, and the true character of their action, hi 
so far as it related to themselves and to their respon- 
sibility for it, was not changed by what he did. And 
yet, the act was not in one slightest degree the less 
efficacious for the benefit of ignorant, blind, strug- 
gling, sinful mankind. HE did it for THEM. 
/ For ages men have been prone to charge their 
/ sufferings to "the anger of the gods," or to "the 
\ inscrutable purposes of divine Providence," or to 
\^the will of the Lord." It has been demonstrated 
in the preceding pages that, in each particular 
case, as well as when viewed from the larger stand- 
point of the whole, these ills are the results of 
one's own thinking and consequent doing. Then to 
charge God with them is wholly false. God did 




312 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

not create our troubles nor did He inflict them 
upon us, nor did He make our erroneous thinking 
necessary. It is nothing short of direct blasphemy | 
to charge God with our ills. They are the results 
of our own wrongdoing. He made each man free 
to think or not to think as he chooses. God is 
good; and He is not responsible, either directly or j 
indirectly, for any ill, or evil thing, least of all for 
the mistakes and sins of mankind, nor for their j 
consequent woes. The briefest consideration of 
acknowledged psychological principles will refute 
all such erroneous allegations against a loving 
Father. 

Man is meant for happiness, and that happiness 
is within his reach. "The kingdom of heaven is 
at hand" indeed, and man may dwell therein if 
he will. Joy, pleasure, peace, are all the results of 
right thinking, and there is no reason why every 
one may not have them. The truth, the beauty, 
the grandeur, the inspiration, the unspeakable 
happiness, are for every man and are obtainable by 
him. He does not need even to search for bliss; 
it comes of itself as God made it to come. 



XLI 

THOUGHT CONTROL IS THE TRUE 
SELF-CONTROL 

SELF-CONTROL has been lauded by philosophers, | 
moralists, and teachers ever since the earliest dawn 
of civilization. Solomon is reported to have said 
thousands of years ago: "He that ruleth his spirit 
is greater than he that taketh a city." Perhaps 
this saying was old even in his day, and was only 
a repetition or an echo of what some other sage had 
long before expressed. Certainly the greatest ruler 
of men is the man who rules himself, for a man 
cannot successfully rule others unless he also rules 
himself. "Self-mastery is the greatest task to which 
man has ever set his hand." Every earnest, sincere 
soul has attempted it and has experienced both 
success and defeat. 

The first step toward accomplishing any object 
is to know Jiow._ The principles under considera- 
tion point clearly to the only method of attaining 
complete self- control. Its secret lies in control^of 
the thinking, because mental actions originate and 

313 



jI4 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

control all others* In the words," Control the mind," ] | 
is condensed all the wisdom, all the philosophy, 
and all the counsel which has ever been given in 
any effort to help mankind to acquire self-control. 
Therein is the root of the whole matter, because 
mind is the supreme power in man, and if the mind I 
is controlled, it will control all the rest. 

Any course which does not include mental con- 
trol Moes not constitute full self-control, because in 
that case the most important factor in human life 
is ignored. This fact is not widely recognized, or 
if recognized, it is not appreciated, for if men under- 
stood the importance of thinking as the source of I > 
all other actions, they would perceive this great ' 
secret of all true self-control. 

Few ethical teachers pay much attention to this 
point, overlooking it almost entirely in the care 
given to the control of external actions. They 
counsel the avoidance of erroneous acts and im- 
moral deeds and call that self-control; as, when 
one is angry they advise that he should not hit his 
adversary with his fist nor abuse him with his tongue. 
Of course in this there is a fragment of self-control ' 
which is vastly better than to let the passions have 
full sway in the actions. 

The angry man who does not do the wrong deed 



THE TRUE SELF-CONTROL 315 

which his thoughts prompt is acting in a praise 
worthy manner ; but that is neither the best nor the 
most efficient method, for it leaves undone the most 
important part of the work. It is control of only | 
the physical part of the self, while the mental goes 
on without attention; this is repression, but repres- 
sion is not true control. The thoughts and impulses 
of such a man have to be restrained, kept back, 
and resisted, even in their violence. To have cast 
these thoughts out of the jnind or to have destroyed 
them at once would have been to go to the fountain 
head of all activity and withdraw the poison that 
was polluting the stream. It would have been to 
remove the obstructions which had changed the 
direction of the stream, and which had turned it 
into wrong channels. This would have been true 
self-control, because control of the whole, and it 
would have left the stream to go freely on its own 
right way. 

True self-control does not consist in restraining 
or resisting the action which is wrong, but it does 
consist in doing that which removes all appearance 
of necessity for resistance or restraint. It isjiot 
muscular control, nor control of thejvill ; but it is 
control of that thinking which is anterior to will, 
and which creates both choice and will. In this 



316 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

method the will is not busied strenuously hold- 
ing something in check; but choice discards dis- 
cordant thoughts drops them out of mind and 
. the whole work is accomplished. One method is 
merely the act of choice; the other requires the 
vigorous, perhaps strenuous, exercise of will power. 
One soon releases the attention and becomes 
restful; the other demands constant attention and 
exhausts the energy. One is effective without 
weariness; the other is exhaustive and always re- 
sults in some sort of failure, often in disaster. 

If discordant thinking is given free course with- 
out more or less resistance or repression, control 
of the actions sooner or later becomes impossible, 
for such thoughts will ultimately do their work in 
one way or another. The boiler which does not 
furnish opportunity for escape of the steam must 
burst if the fire is kept up, but it does not need a 
skilled engineer to pull the fire out of the fire-box, 
and then explosion is impossible. Any man can do 
that ; neither is the learning of the schools necessary 
to enable a man to stop his discordant thinking 
and thus save himself from its disastrous conse- 
quences. The simplest and humblest man in all 
the world can accomplish that if he chooses to do so. 
Self-control in its completeness is really emanci- 



I 



THE TRUE SELF-CONTROL 317 

' pation from the control of all other things than 
self; that is, it is emancipation from the domina- 
tion of all those things which provoke discordant 
thinking. The man who allows himself to be 
mentally disturbed is really, to the extent of that 
Disturbance, under the control of whatever suggested 
it, however entirely he may fail to recognize his 
condition. To practise the principle herein discussed 

f releases him from the control of circumstances, con- 

\ditions, and all those tendencies within and with- 
out which have before held him in thraldom. It 
frees him from everything except the necessity of 
controlling himself. 

As already shown, this mental training will es- \ 
tablish such habits that no attention need be given 
even to this control of self, because when the habit 
of any class of mental actions is once set up, they 
move_on automatically, at least without any con- 
scious care or attention, as those thoughts do which 
direct the pen in forming the letters when one is 
writing. That would be freedom from all control, 

! even from self-control. The whole of this essay 
only shows that, when it is complete, "self-control," 
at last analysis, is a misnomer, because when one 
has accomplished it, he is released from even the 
control of himself. 



3T8 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

But the question may be asked, would not such 
freedom result in wrong actions? The answer is 
that under the conditions which are necessary for 
the attainment of such freedom wrong actions 
would be impossible, because when one has reached 

this freedom he would have arrived at such an under- 

i 

standing, and would have set up such mental habits 
based on that understanding, that there would no 
longer be any inclination toward wrong. Then \ 
error would no longer disturb the mind, because all 
of it would have been cast out with the erroneous 
or discordant thinking. Thus perfect self-control 
would result in the absence of all control whatever, 
because of the absence from the mind of every- 
thing that would need to be controlled. 

This is the freedom of untrammelled childhood. 
It is the freedom of heaven. As a man approxi- 
mates toward this ideal he departs from error and 
approaches truth, right, and perfect freedom. 



XLH 

MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF 

IT has been shown in the preceding pages that 
manisthe creature of his own thinking, moulded 
and fashioned by it, and that if he will, he may 
control his thinking as he chooses. Then the con ; 
elusion is unavoidable and must be true in all its 
comprehensiveness that, by control of his mental 
actions, a man can make himself whatever he 
chooses. 

A glance at the principles will show the accuracy 
of this conclusion with all its unlimited possibilities. 
Thinking is the primal action and the cause, im- 
mediate or remote, of all other human actions and 
conditions. Man can control his thinking abso- 
lutely. Control of the cause controls the result; 
but thinking is the cause; then by controlling his 
thinking man may make himself whatever he will. 

It is true that complete control of the thinking is 
at first dependent upon certain elements of char- 
acter but character itself is the^ resulLof_ habitual 

3'9 



320 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

thinking, and therefore it may be entirely changed 
by appropriate thinking; that is, control of the 
thinking, by turning it into new channels, may 
. destroy or remove present elements of character 
and substitute new ones. This is merely dropping 
out the objectionable elements and putting desirable 
ones in their places, which all depends upon the 
exercise of correct choice and persistence in main- 
taining that choice. 

Tremendous as the results may be, the conditions 
by which they may be attained are wonderfully 
simple. As has been so often said in these pages, 
it is one's own thinking which produces his action 
and determines its character. Even if he is induced 
to modify his thinking and change his opinions 
because of the advice or argument of another, yet 
such changes are at last made by himself, and thus 
the opinions become his own. 

Change of character is not re-formation nor 
creation in the exact meaning of the words. It is 
not a making over of the old materials into some- 
thing different, nor is it a making of new materials. 
In point of fact, by this process nothing is, of itself, 
either changed or modified. The whole work con- 
. | sists in ceasing to do certain things and in doing 
1 certain other things. The man stops thinking 



MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF 32! 

certain thoughts and consequently stops doing 
certain acts of a corresponding character, and he 
thinks thoughts of another character and therefore 1 1 
performs other acts. A thought is never made over 
into another kind of thought, nor is any act ever 
made over into an act of some other kind. 

The liar who stops thinking about lying cannot j 
lie any more; he necessarily tells the truth because 
there is not anything else that he can do. The 
thief who stops thinking about stealing cannot steal ; 
indeed, whatever he may have been before, he is no 
longer a thief; it was his thinking that made him a J 1 . 
thief; and only a return to that thinking can make 
him a thief again. If a man stops thinking wrong- 
ful, immoral, or sinful thoughts, then the wrongful, 
immoral, or sinful actions cannot occur under any cir- 
cumstances, and the man is no longer immoral or 
sinful. It is the same in all wrongdoing. Neither 
the liar nor the thief has changed anything either 
in himself or outside himself, but each has simply 
stopped thinking certain thoughts and consequently 
has stopped doing certain deeds. One element is j 
removed and another is substituted in its place. 
This comprises the whole work of re-formation, or 
reformation, so called. 

Every man, if he will set himself about it, may, 



322 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

by persistent practice, put any class of erroneous 
thoughts entirely out of his mind and thus wholly 
destroy that error so far as he is himself concerned. 
He has then freed himself from an extraneous some- 
thing which was attached to him like a barnacle to 
a ship, preventing his progress. When these are 
all cast away, the man will stand out in his own 
true character, manifesting his real self, and ready 
for either the smooth or stormy seas which he may 
encounter on his way. 

The same man may, with even less effort, accept 
a true thought and, by earnest conviction and con- 
stant recognition, make it his own. It then becomes 
a part of himself, coloring his whole life and making 
him different from what he would have been without 
it. In this particular he has literally builded him- 
self anew, and there is no limit to a man's recon- 
struction of himself by this method. 

This aspect of evil, of our relation to it, and of the 
method of its avoidance, eradication, and destruc- 
tion changes the entire view of the subject, places 
it on a new basis, and removes many of the difficul- 
ties which have been connected with it. 

Inherited tendencies are a barrier to action in 
compliance with this principle only in so far as they 
may be more difficult to overcome because deeper 



MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF 323 

seated and of longer standing. They do not con- 
stitute an exception. The control of inherited 
tendencies in thinking is like the control of all other 
thinking, is prosecuted in the same way, and may be 
wholly within one's own power. Whatever their 
character or the attendant difficulties, they stand 
in the same relation to the person, his thinking, 
and his actions as do all others. Whatever the in- 
heritance, it can be utterly destroyed by persistently 

W<waMiaBiMMMBMMw*^BMi*^*MMlWi^pBpHa >H g^MVW*MM4HHM*dVlHHiM*MVrt*MMaMMMAM**MAi M*iafm nM 

refusing tojhink those thoughts whicJti,j;Qn.duc.e Jo 
it. That which is called "the disposition," or any 
other peculiarity, however strongly intrenched by 

( inheritance or long- continued habit, can be changed ; 

r r~ .- - 

objectionable qualities can be eliminated, desirable 
ones can be cultivated and enlarged, and others 
can be added. There is not any predestination nor . ) 
any fatality except as one makes it by his own 
thinking or lack of thinking. This statement of 
the situation shows the absurdity of the doctrine of \ 
fatality, at least when applied to human beings 
and their actions. The only limitation is that which 
[ one makes for himself by his own thinking or through 
his failure to control his thinking. 

One person inherits a tendency toward music 
and cultivates it by continuous mental application, 
resulting in wonderful attainments. A second per- 



324 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

son, with equal initial advantage, follows some 
other course, and the latent musical ability is never 
developed. He makes something else of himself. 
A third, with less natural capacity for music, spends 
a lifetime in its cultivation, but does not attain the 
proficiency of the first, who had at the beginning of 
his career large advantages derived from the think- 
ing and actions of his ancestors ; yet the relative 
progress of the third may be as great or even greater. 

Two persons inherit a tendency toward some 
evil course; one allows his thoughts to run in that 
direction to his own destruction, while the other 
resolutely takes the opposite way with his thinking 
and makes a true man of himself. The number of 
such instances will never be known because the one 
who corrects his evil tendencies prefers not to parade 
his earlier defects. There are not any "born 
criminals," if by that term it is meant that they 
cannot govern their inherited tendencies and escape 
from them. The plea of an inherited tendency is 
never a valid excuse for an evil deed, though it is a 
sufficient reason for the palliation of man's condemna- 
tion of his fellow-man, and also for holding out to 
him a helping hand to steady him over the rough 
places along the way of life. 

After the usual consideration of inheritance, 



MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF 325 

education, surroundings, and past indulgence, the 
i fact remains that the man's own thinking is the 
I cause of his actions and that by abandoning the 
thought the actions will also be abandoned. By 
this method, instead of lopping off the outer branches, 
the axe is applied to the root of the error and the 
whole is destroyed. When this is understood, what 
an immense advantage it will be to all mankind! 
They will then soon learn that it is far easier to con- 
trol the thoughts than to control the actions when 



the thoughts are not controlled to destroy the 
root instead of wasting time with the branches. 
Even physical conditions, acquired or otherwise, ' 

| are the results of previous thinking, and, because 
they have been produced by thinking, changed they I . 

I must be if a change in thinking is persistently con- 
tinued. Thinking is the monarch who governs the ' 

! man and everything connected with him. The 

(invisible and intangible everywhere dominate the 
visible and tangible. Invisible gravitation controls 
not only the minute atoms, but the worlds, the suns, 
4 and the whole material universe. A passing change 
jof thought changes the expression of the face for 
the moment, and if the thought becomes habitual, 
the changed expression becomes permanent. So 
with everything else about the body, even the 



326 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

motions and attitudes in walking, standing, and sit- 
ting whatever a man does. The man is not i 
subject to his features, but the features are subject 
to the man, that is, to his thinking ; and they change 
as his character changes as his habit of thinking 
changes. 

All varieties of character- reading by the examina- 
tion of external conditions and actions point to the 
fact that it is the invisible and intangible mind which J 
fashions not only the face but the whole body. It 
is the same with each item in the whole physical 
system, because all changes occur in accordance 
with invariable principle. It is not the bones of 
the skull that shape the brain, but the brain that | 
shapes the skull; and, as it is mental activity that 
develops and enlarges the brain, so it must be mental 
activity that changes and shapes the skull. Thus* 
the mind by its action builds the whole body. By 
\ controlling the builder, man builds and fashions 
y himself; therefore he is his own architect. 

There is a preponderance of defective human 
architecture because comparatively few have recog- 
nized the all-important connection between thinking 
and action; and a large proportion of the few who ; 
do recognize it, doubting the possibility of success, 
do not make any attempt to test the principle ; while 



MAN THE ARCHITECT OF HIMSELF 327 

sti)t others, after a spasmodic effort, are too indolent, 
mentally, to persevere. 

Man does not reach all his aspirations at a single 
bound. Complete success in changing the thinking 
requires persistent and perhaps long-continued 
practice, but it will bring results as permanent as 
the change which has been made in the thinking. 
"We build the stairs by which we climb," and he 
who would build well the mansion for his soul 
must be persistent, courageous, and confident. I 



XLIII 
POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 

AVOIDANCE of wrong because of the desire to 
escape its results, even though that motive has been 
most prominent in all the world's history, is not the 
highest incentive, for it is only a negative aspect of 
the moral problem. There is something better. 
Doing right because it is right is an action which 
is positive in its character; and to perform the right 
action without any thought of reward and solely 
for the sake of being right is to act from the highest 
and holiest motive; but this does not hinder nor 
prevent the reward which always follows right action. 

The tree does not put forth its leaves and blossoms 
because of the possible fruit which may result, but 
it does certain things simply for the sake of the doing ; 



the fruit appears. Avoidance of evil thinking 
always brings its natural recompense, and this rec- 
ompense is as much its normal outgrowth as the 
fruit of the tree; yet it is as distinct from all con- 
sideration of price or wages as that fruit is. This 

308 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 329 

kind of fruitage is the most desirable that man 
ever receives or enjoys. It is "the Fruit of the 
Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden." 

Perfection is the ultimate goal of man's best and 
highest aspiration, but it is an attainment for which, 
as yet, men have hardly dared to hope. They have 
been taught that it is beyond their reach except as 
it is approached through the gateway of death or 
obtained by the intervention of some miraculous 
power; yet, in a manner more or less continuous 
and earnest or hesitating and desultory, every man 
desires to do better and to be better than he is. From 
this desire comes the progress of the world, for it 
is always urging men toward the achievement of 
something better than what they now have; and, 
whatever may have been accomplished, this desire 
outruns every achievement and beckons forward to 
something better still. 

It is a universal law that progress creates the 
desire for still further progress, as in mechanics 
the improvement of a machine stimulates its further 
improvement. There may be lapses, one may even 
go backward for a time, but the desire for better 
things is as inherent in the heart of man as his very 
existence itself, and it must finally become manifest. 

Though man may not consciously recognize the 



330 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

full meaning of this aspiration, yet it really includes 
the desire for ultimate perfection and is a means 
for its accomplishment because it necessitates con- 
tinual progress in that direction, even though the 
progress may be slow and irregular. No man can 
be entirely satisfied until the last possible ideal has 
been reached ; and this must ultimately be the reali- 
zation of perfection. 

To say that this perfection is not within man's 
reach is to deny the goodness of God, because such 
a statement implies that God has implanted in man's 
nature aspirations toward good only to torture him 
by refusing to allow their fruition. That would be 
a cruel mockery, and if it were true, man would be 
better than his Creator. But to say that perfection 
is indeed within reach of every one is to extend to 
mankind that encouragement which constitutes the 
largest possible incentive to persistent effort. The 
infinite Father has not given man the aspiration for 
better things merely to deny him at the last. He 
does not mock His children. The attainment of 
this goal is more than a possibility : it is a certainty. 

The method of securing this object has been 
overlooked because of its extreme simplicity. Per- 
sistence and steadfastness of choice in the right 
direction are all that is required. It will not be 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 33! 

accomplished in a moment, nor in a day, nor a year, 
perhaps not in a lifetime on this earth, but man may 
be sure of its attainment. The world of mankind 
must go on in its progress until at last, even on this 
earth, it shall have gained it. Whenever or wher- 
ever these desires may reach their fruition, this we 
know, that each step taken in that direction, whether 
here or elsewhere, whether now or hereafter, is a 
step that is taken forever, and is just so much ac- 
complished both for the one who has taken that 
step and for all mankind. The good each man 
does shines for all other men, and some one sees it 
even though but dimly. 

In one view which may be taken of man, he ap- 
pears to be an aggregation of thoughts massed into 
one personality or individuality. This may not be 
the most exalted nor the most comprehensive way 
in which he can be considered, but it is one correct 
aspect. On this basis, if an analysis of the mental 
elements which constitute that complex being whom 
we call man should be carried to its ultimate so as to 
make a complete separation of part from part, the 
final result would be the possibility to divide these 
elements into two classes, one composed of thoughts 
which are wholly good without any evil whatever in 
them ; the other of those which are not good and do 



332 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

not contain any good whatever. 1 Every man may 
cast out of himself all those thoughts which are not 
good. By doing that persistently the time must 
come when all such thinking will have ceased, 
leaving only those thoughts which are wholly good. 
Then must he manifest perfection. 

This simple reasoning is a complete and logical 
demonstration of the possibility that man may 
attain perfection. It is also a portrayal of the simple 
but sure method by which perfection may certainly 
be reached. Here is the Archimedean lever with 
which to move the world, and not the lever only but 
the fulcrum that Archimedes lacked, and, further- 
more, the place on which the operator is to stand. 
Each step will be an elevation into a purer, diviner 
atmosphere and will itself be an incentive to further 
effort. 

It is as though one clothed in white were also 
enveloped in exterior garments of black through 
which some of the white is shining. As he drops 
off the outside garments one after another, more 
and more of the white shines through, until finally 
when the last dark garment has been discarded, only 

1 The word " good " is ordinarily used with more or less looseness 
of meaning, but here it is used with that absolute signification 
which admits of no comparative degree the good is wholly good; 
the separation is complete; the not-good has no good in it. 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 333 

ihe pure white remains. Thus, when the dark 
thoughts of discord and evil are cast away, there 
remains only the pure being, Man, as God, his 
Father, created him. 

Because some sense of moral right, however un- 
developed it may be, exists in each one, therefore 
each one sees a condition for himself which he 
thinks is better than he has already reached, and he 
also recognizes that some of his thoughts are either 
wholly erronecus or at least contain somewhat of 
error. He is also conscious that within himself he 
has the power to stop thinking some of those er- 
roneous thoughts if he chooses. Ability to perform 
an action once means the ability to do it again by 
the exercise of the same choice and the same power, 
and this means the ability to do it every time it is 
necessary. Each repetition is accomplished with 
less effort than before, and so the work goes on until 
erroneous thoughts no more intrude. 

It may be claimed that this requires acute analysis 
of one's thoughts and that the wheat and the tares 
are so wonderfully alike that it is sometimes im- 
possible, even for the wisest, who scrutinize most 
closely and see most clearly, to decide accurately 
between the more delicate shades of good and evil 
as they lie in close contact. In actual practice such 



334 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

nice analysis and discrimination are not necessary 
A man has only to banish the one thought which ht 
knows to be disccidant or erroneous, and to do this 
he does not need any further understanding. The 
eradication of this one thought is the beginning of 
the work, and this beginning can be made at once. 
When that has been accomplished, and the habit 
of not thinking that thought has been established, 
the understanding gained in the process will show 
some other thinking that is wrong, and the experience 
with the first thought will have given wisdcm as 
well as strength to eradicate a second one. Then 
he will have clearer and more definite ideas with 
regard to others about which he has not been so 
decided. It is only one at a time; but the removal 
of one reveals another so long as there is one dis- 
cordant thought left to be revealed, and this course 
persevered in necessarily removes every evil thought 
and leaves at last only the absolute good that is, 
it leaves only the perfect. 

In practice, therefore, the fact that it is new im- 
possible to draw an accurate line, leaving all the 
good thoughts on one side and all the bad ones on 
the other, is neither an obstacle to success nor an 
occasion for delay. Indeed, this inability to complete 
the analysis at first may be a positive advantage, 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 335 

especially in view of the fact that if the whole were 
attempted at once, the magnitude of the work might 
be overwhelming. Besides, it is easier to attack the 
host in detail rather than in a mass, and prosecution 
of the work always brings wisdom and understand- 
ing as fast as they can be used. The simplicity 
arising out of the absence of any need of nice dis- 
crimination and analysis, or of special educational 
or philosophic attainments, or of the recognition of 
the exact line accurately dividing the good from the 
evil, all of these combined constitute one of the 
wonderful conditions of moral progress which makes 
its pursuit possible for all mankind. 

There is nothing mysterious, nor supernatural, 
nor occult, nor anything beyond the bounds of 
natural knowledge in this, nor does it require any 
remarkable attainment of wisdom, nor any wonder- 
ful ability, analytic or otherwise. It only requires 
that there shall be the consciousness of one error, 
and the determination to avoid it. By practice we 
find that we can leave off that one, and that convinces 
us that we can do the same with the next. Each 
point attained is not only a positive advantage in 
itself, but also in the other fact that it shows us that 
we have the ability to take the next step. The way 
is indeed strait, but it is simple and within the 



336 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

comprehension of every one. Then every one can 
walk in it, for every one can change his thoughts 
at least once in response to his own choice, and when 
he has done this once, can do so a second time. 
This means that man may arrive at the goal of 
absolute perfection because by choice he may 
change one of his thoughts and by persistence all of 
them; and, if he will, he may go in this way until 
he no longer thinks any sinful, immoral, wrongful, 
erroneous, or discordant thoughts, and when he has 
accomplished this, since all his thinking will be right, 
his conduct must be right also. When all men do 
thus, all wrong will cease to be. 

Exalted and sublime as this ideal is, it is eminently 
practical and it should enter positively into every 
occupation and inspire the regulation of every life. 
It will not interfere with any rightful pursuit nor 
hinder efficiency in any direction, but it will simplify 
and purify every action. It will not make any man 
less manly nor any woman less womanly, but it will 
make each immeasurably better the man more 
of a man and the woman more of a woman in every 
true relationship of life. Even if we advance only 
a little toward the goal, that little is just so much 
surely accomplished for all time. 

This is an illustration and elucidation of the dec- 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 337 

kration made by Jesus: 1 "Whosoever will do His 
will" (whosoever desires to do right, for God's will 
is absolute lightness) "shall know of the doctrine," 
or teaching. It also demonstrates the absolute 
accuracy of his statement, because whosoever will- 
eth to do this, that is, whosoever really desires to do 
right, will diligently pursue that desire, and as he 
progresses will also progress in his recognition of 
what is right ("shall know of the doctrine"), and, 
knowing that, shall know how to attain it. Many 
have failed because they were self-deceived into 
thinking they were desiring to do right (to do God's 
will) when, in fact, they sought only the accomplish- 
ment of their own erroneous wishes. They did not 
seek the right regardless of all other things, there- 
fore they failed ; but even if they did fail, that fail- 
ure was only for a time, for ultimately they will see 
their mistake and correct it. There is never a fail- 
ure that is not followed by the possibility of some- 
, thing better than went before. The desire for better 
things survives all failure and demands effort toward 
their attainment, and that desire will never cease to 
urge one on until the object is reached. 

The traveller often approaches a point in his jour- 
ney beyond which he cannot see his way, a place 

1 John vii. 1 6. 



338 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

where all things seem to end ; yet always as soon as 
he reaches that point, the vista opens, and he finds 
the path for his feet stretching farther out into the 
distance. His foot is never planted on the last spot 
within his vision without his being able to see the 
place beyond for another step. It may be only a 
very little way, and it may be either to the right or 
to the left, but the light shines on the path a little 
in advance; and when one who is really striving 
after the right shall reach that which seems to be 
the last point before him, there will then come a 
new gleam lighting up the way still farther on. This 
is the helpful element in all ideals. They are al- 
ways in advance of present accomplishment, and 
when once attained new and better ones always dis- 
close themselves. 

The man who is in earnest, who seeks right for 
its own sake and not for any less worthy object, who 
dares to abandon former opinions for better ones 
newly perceived, and who dares to do the right, can 
always see the way to at least one point farther. 
The danger lies in not daring and therefore not do- 
ing. There is no occasion for discouragement. We 
know better than we do, and because we know better 
than we do, next time we can do better than we have 
done this time. An ideal attained always reveals 



POSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION 339 

another and diviner possibility. Each is a bow of 
promise beckoning onward. God has arranged it 
so in the beautiful order of His creation. 

Man has vainly sought the fountain of youth in 
things outside of himself. It is within. "The in- 
ner joys and virtues are the essential part of life's 
business," and if these are not obstructed by the 
weeds and briers of discordant thinking, they will 
flower most beautifully and fruit most bountifully 
in all outward actions and in life eternal. 

Every man has the divine spark within himself. 
He will never be without a guide to his actions if he 
will only follow as far as he can see in the direction 
toward absolute right. He need not wait, but may 
at once begin his journey, filled with the certainty of 
at last reaching the pinnacle of success in the goal 
of perfection. Even when perfection is achieved, 
though the difficulties and toils of the way are all 
behind him, he will find before him all the beauty and 
glory of God's infinite universe of absolute and per- 
fect good in its limitless diversity. In this field a 
man can never lack objects of interest for the exer- 
cise of his choice and the expenditure of his activity, 
because the variety of God's good is as infinite as 
His creation, and man's progress will be from glory 
to glory throughout endless duration. 



XLIV 
THE TEACHING OF JESUS 

THUS far the subject has been discussed from 
scientific, philosophic, ethical, and moral points of 
view, but it will be incomplete if dismissed without 
some consideration of its relation to the teaching of 
Jesus, the Christ. To some minds this will appear 
important, to others perhaps it will seem to be only 
a repetition of statements already made, while those 
who have never examined it in this aspect may find 
in his teaching a phase not before suspected. 

The moral and religious features of the work of 
Jesus so eclipse all others that he is seldom thought 
of as a philosopher or a scientist. It is the more 
general opinion that he promulgated certain rules 
for the guidance of mankind in their personal and 
social relations, but more especially in their reli- 
gious duties, whereby they may attain more har- 
monious conditions, greater morality, higher spirit- 
uality, and therefore more peace and happiness 
here, and possibly eternal bliss hereafter. Those 

340 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 34! 

who hold this opinion think that he did his work 
without the aid of philosophy or science and without 
any of the arts of the logician; hence they suppose 
that he held such matters more or less in contempt, 
and that there is no connection, association, nor 
relationship between his utterances and those of 
philosophy and science. Indeed, scarcely a genera- 
tion ago it was stoutly declared that science and re- 
ligion were in open conflict; nor is it so very long 
since the opinion was widely prevalent that the ' 
teaching of Jesus is without system, and that it con- 
sists of independent, disjointed declarations, having 
little or no connection with one another, and some- 
times, if not often, contradictory an opinion which 
has not yet wholly disappeared. 

That there is a basic system, either philosophic or 
scientific, on which rests all that Jesus said and did, 
would be emphatically denied by many who think 
themselves his devoted followers. They venerate i 
his words as the arbitrary edict of a god, and they , 
think that any other theory concerning them or him 
would detract from the authority of his utterances 
and the sublimity of his position. They would con- 
sider it degrading to suppose that his rules for con- 
duct are permeated by scientific truths, and still 
more so to suppose that the authority of his utter- 



342 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

ances could be strengthened by any recognition oi 
their relationship to philosophic or scientific prin- 
ciples. 

It is most assuredly true that Jesus did not elabo- 
rate any philosophic theory whatever, nor did he 
make any pretence to a systematic or scientific ar- 
rangement of his subjects, nor did he make any ap- 
peal to men's reasoning faculties by the use of logical 
formulas. It is one of his strongly marked pecu- 
liarities that in most cases he merely cast his state- 
ments in the axiomatic form and, without argumen- 
tation, left their accuracy and truth to be perceived 
by the same means that the truth of the axiom is 
perceived. 

His complete abnegation of self, his exact com- 
pliance with the rules that he promulgated, his 
measureless love for all men, even for his enemies, 
these have moved men to become his followers 
and have taken possession of their hearts and minds 
to the exclusion of other things. This ceases to be 
a wonder when we consider how far he transcends 
all others in these characteristics. 

Granting the most extreme claims that have been 
put forth regarding his divinity, still, if those claims 
are true, even because they are true, his utter- 
ances must be in accord with the absolute basic 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 343 

truths of existence; and science and philosophy at 
their best are only attempts to set forth and explain 
the facts of existence, which are the divine truths of 
God as manifested in the things about us. The 
ultimate facts of existence and the knowledge and 
explanation of them, so far as this knowledge and 
explanation are accurate, must constitute the only 
correct, enduring, and elemental basis of either sci- 
ence or philosophy, and equally so of religion. All 
truths, by whatever name they may be called, must 
rest at last upon this basis and must be made up of 
these elements; therefore each must be an expres- 
sion of its portion of one entirely harmonious whole, 
and consequently they must all be so linked together 
in unity as to constitute a perfect system. 

If this is the condition, then it must be possible to 
make such an examination of the utterances of Jesus 
as to discover their basis in the fundamental truths 
of correctly stated science and also to find their expla- 
nation in the principles of sound and enduring phi- 
losophy. The world may not be ready to accept 
this proposition now, because the statements of nei- 
ther science, nor philosophy, nor religion are yet 
either without deficiency or without flaw. When 
they are so, it will be possible to see that the connec- 
tion between each part and every other part, which 



344 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

at present appears broken, is complete, and that 
each is in perfect harmony with all the others. Then 
it will be possible to show to the whole human race 
the most powerful and convincing reasons for the 
existence of Jesus' precepts, and the supreme rea- 
son why they should be obeyed. This will im- 
mensely enhance the value of those precepts in the 
eyes of those who look to reason rather than to 
authority, and it will not detract in the slightest from 
the veneration and allegiance of those who accept 
him chiefly on the basis of his deific authority, while 
it will furnish both classes with abundant reason 
why his words are as the words of God. 

An examination will show that the principles set 
forth in the preceding pages are inherent in the con- 
stitution of man as he has been fashioned by his 
Creator, and an application of them to the ethical 
rules which Jesus gave to mankind for the guidance 
of human conduct in the affairs of social life will 
show that those rules rest for their foundation and 
reasonableness, some wholly, others in part, upon 
these principles. Because those rules are in accord 
with immutable principle, they are scientific in the 
full meaning of the word, and they are as exact and 
universal within their domain as are the rules of 
mathematics in the domain of that science. Thus 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 345 

considered, these scientific principles furnish an ex- 
planation of his rules and an elucidation of their 
character which will make them better understood 
and which, without depriving them of a particle of 
their authority and sacredness, but instead adding 
to both will remove them forever from the domain 
of arbitrary domination and dictation where they 
have so long stood in the minds of many. 

Some may sneer and say that this would place 
ethics and morality among the exact sciences; but, 
in view of the inextricable confusion and contradic- 
tions among the opinions now held regarding these 
subjects, even those who sneer must admit that if 
such a result could be achieved, it would be ex- 
ceptionally desirable. There must be fundamental 
principles in morals as well as in mathematics if 
human beings are not a congeries of haphazard hap- 
penings, but are created or developed in accordance 
with principle; and there must be a true science of 
morals just as there is of mechanics, and that sci- 
ence must be just as exact in its principles and just 
as inflexible in its multifarious applications. Each 
step toward the elucidation of that science must be 
as much more valuable than the earlier discoveries 
in the natural sciences and mathematics as morals are 
of more importance to mankind than are mechanics. 



346 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

The basis on which so many of Jesus' rules rest for 
their foundation is not anywhere stated in more 
directly scientific terms than in what he says of 
adultery. He recognizes the wisdom and validity 
of the old law prohibiting the crime, but he sees also 
that the scope of the law is too limited. As inter- 
preted before his day it included only that part of 
the crime which is, so to speak, above ground, but 
it did not interfere with the root from which it springs, 
the thoughts which precede and produce the act. 
For the destruction of a plant, not only must the 
top be cut off, which the law already attempted to 
do, but the root which nourishes the top must be 
dug up and destroyed. If the thoughts which pro- 
duce the crime are allowed to continue, the outward 
and visible actions are liable to appear with renewed 
vigor regardless of the prohibition. 1 

These statements are scientific; Jesus quotes the 
law approvingly and then, because of these scien- 
tific reasons, he adds: "Whosoever looketh on a 
woman to lust after her," that is, whosoever thinks o 
adulterous thoughts about her, "hath committed 
adultery with her already," 3 thus so interpreting the 

1 Lao-tsze says: "Not contemplating what kindles desire keeps 
the heart unconfused." 

1 Matthew v. 27-30. / 3 S 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 34} 

terms of the law as to include in its prohibition 
not only the crime but all those thoughts which 
contribute to it and produce it. He does not de- 
stroy the law, but by his interpretation he com- 
pletes it. Compliance with what might be called 
his addition to the law would render the law useless 
as it stood before he made that addition, because 
the offence against which the law aimed cannot 
occur if the thought which would cause the offence 
has been excluded from the mind. His interpreta- 
tion of the law thus becomes the vital part of the 
prohibition. 

His position in this case rests for its validity upon 
two distinct points: First, thinking is the cause of 
the act ; second, if the cause is removed by ceasing 
to think the thought, then that which would be the 
consequence of such thinking cannot occur and the 
act cannot be committed; therefore his prohibition 
of adulterous thinking is strictly scientific, finding 
the reason for its existence in pure science. 

Jesus follows the simple statement of his proposi- 
tion with the two tremendous illustrations of the 
hand and the eye: "If thy right eye offend thee, 
pluck it out and cast it from thee." Whatever other 
meaning these metaphorical words may convey, 
they surely indicate that whenever one's thought is 



348 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

the cause of his wrong actions, though it may seem 
to him as desirable as his eye or his hand, that 
thought is to be plucked out or cut off and as utterly 
cast away as the eye or the hand might be. This 
also is as strictly scientific as his interpretative addi- 
tion to the law. 

Thus we see that his words in this instance rest 
for their basis on sound psychological principles as 
modern science has discovered and explained them. 
His form of expression has the characteristics of an 
exact statement of scientific principle, viz. accuracy 
and absence of modification or exception. All this 
removes the precept from the charge of being mere 
- i dictatorial domination, vindicates its claim to scien- 
tific character, and, because there cannot be any 
more exception to this rule than to a rule in mathe- 
matics, it is at least one step toward placing morality 
among the exact sciences. 

What Jesus says about murder is similar in char- 
acter. The law prohibited killing. 1 Anger is the 
root of murder as lust is the root of adultery. When 
cultivated and intensified, anger finds its final ex- 
pression and natural result in murder. Jesus affixed 
the same penalty to unexpressed anger that the law 
affixed to murder, thus placing the unuttered thought 

1 Matthew v. 21-24. 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 349 

which might cause murder under the same prohibi- 
tion as murder itself. Thus, in full accord with the 
scientific proposition, he makes the thought (the 
cause) the essential thing, for without it there would 
not be any consequence. Having dealt with the 
cause, he has no occasion to deal with consequences, 
because without causes there would not be any con- 
sequences; therefore for murder itself he expresses 
neither prohibition nor penalty, and this, again, is ex- 
actly scientific. When all anger is excluded from the 
mind there will not be any murder. His method in 
this is the same that he pursued in his discussion of 
adultery and is equally scientific. 1 

The completeness with which Jesus would have 
us exclude anger from our minds is shown in his 
metaphorical statement: "Therefore if thou bring 
thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy 
brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy 
gift before the altar, and go thy way ; first be recon- 
ciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy 
gift." Note here that the person addressed is not 
directed to do anything with his brother. His sole 

1 The same principle is observed in the practice in criminal 
courts where it is held of the first importance to prove the 
" motive," or the mental state which caused the act; only they use 
it to assist in establishing the guilt of the person, he used it to 
prevent the guilty action. 



RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

offence consists in the fact that he remembers that 
his brother has something against him, and the one 
thing for him to do is himself to become "recon- 
ciled" to his brother. The literal definition of the 
Greek word here rendered "be reconciled" is "be 
changed throughout." Then he must not only put 
anger out of his own mind, but he must do this so 
completely as not to remember that his brother has 
anything against him. When he has done this, he 
is "changed throughout." This is complete exclu- 
sion of discordant thinking. 

His precept, " Judge not," l is of the same sort, and 
equally scientific. Judgment is almost universally 
considered necessary and praiseworthy ; yet any one 
who analyzes mental conditions must recognize 
that Cnjiejju^.io.ii Js. the discordant mental begin- 
ning of very much that is wrong. Condemnation 
of others has been both the cause and the justifica- 
tion of the worst acts of humanity, including murder, 
war, and butchery generally. Each atrocity or out- 
rage has resulted from the condemnation of one man 
by another because of something that one has done 
or has failed to do, and each war has been caused 
by similar condemnation of one nation by another. 

1 Matthew vii. 1-5. The Greek word which is here rendered 
" judge " is also elsewhere translated " condemn." 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 351 

All judgment, or condemnation, exists first in thought 

I before it can find expression in either words or deeds. 
The condemnatory thought is discordant, therefore 
on scientific grounds alone, considering the purposes 
of health without regard to any question of morals, 
condemnation ought to be excluded from the mind. 
But this proposition applies in an equally scientific 
way to morality, and as morals are the more im- 
portant, there is so much the greater reason why 
Jesus should say, "Judge not," and it is equally a 
scientific necessity that his requirement should be, 
as it is, so sweeping as to prohibit all such thoughts. 

If the precept of Jesus concerning anger is com- 
plied with in the perfect way indicated by the case 
of the man bringing his gift to the altar, then this 
one relating to judgment becomes unnecessary, be- 
cause when the recognition of an offence has been so 
completely thrust out of mind that one is no longer 
aware that another has anything against him, there 
cannot be any condemnation or judgment. On the 
other hand, if one does not judge (condemn), there 
will not be any anger. In this way do Jesus' pre- 
1 cepts work together and harmonize, each aiding 
toward compliance with the others. 

His precept, "Take no thought for the morrow," 1 
1 Matthew vi. 34. 



352 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

has been looked upon as unreasonable if not impos- 
sible. "Take no anxious thought for the morrow," 
is the rendering in the Revised Version, and if this 
is accepted, even those who object most strongly to 
the rule as expressed by the earlier translation must 
acknowledge that as it appears in the later form it 
is reasonable, wise, and practicable ; and it then be- 
comes another instance of a rule resting on scientific 
principles for its foundation. Anxiety is a form of 
discordant thinking, and the conditions of exact sci- 
ence require its exclusion from the mind, just as set 
forth by Jesus' precept. 

Perhaps in no place has failure to understand him 
been greater than in connection with his precept, 
"Resist not evil," which, in part, rests on the same 
scientific foundation as his propositions already con- 
sidered. This rule is a practical continuation into a 
more general form of his precepts concerning anger, 
the recognition that one's brother has something 
against him, and the one respecting judgment or 
condemnation. Whoever complies with ihese in 
their fulness will not violate this one, for he will not 
allow his mind to be occupied either by thoughts of 
the wrong done him, or by anger, or by condemna- 
tion. Harboring thoughts of wrong at once arouses 
condemnation and anger, and from these comes the 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 353 

impulse to defend one's self and to punish the of- 
fender^ to resist ._the_^evil; T>ut if 



allowed, then the desire to resist will not arise. 

Unnumbered centuries of practice contrary to these 
precepts have made compliance with them seem 
ineffective, unmanly, or cowardly ; yet evil has never 
diminished in consequence of such methods. From 
a little brand which at first could have easily been 
extinguished by right mental control conflagrations 
have developed which have brought ruin and deso- 
lation in their wake. Hatred, bitterness, blighting 
of homes and lives, legal strife, murders, wars, and 
all forms of" outrage and wickedness have grown 
from small beginnings which would have disap- 
peared instantly by compliance with these precepts. 

His own course is the most brilliant example of 
the wisdom of this precept. He did not resist evil 
under the severest provocations of illegal arrest on 
false charges, trial before prejudiced judges who had 
decided beforehand that he must die, and execu- 
tion by the same authority which had declared him 
innocent. The result is an ever widening and deep- 
ening stream of influence which has gone on through 
all the centuries since, and which shall continue 
through the centuries to come, until all error has 
disappeared from among men. 



354 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

In the language of the old Hebrew lawgiver. 
"Thus shall ye put away evil from among you;" 
and in no other way can the putting away be so 
thoroughly accomplished as by obeying his precept, 
"Resist not evil." The influence of the one who 
obeys this is not limited to himself alone. The power 
of his good thought extends even to the enemy, and 
it will soon begin its work of transformation in his 
mind. Like the rays of the sun, the thought which 
causes one to refrain from resistance in the way 
that he ought, penetrates the darkest places, de- 
stroying the noxious germs of enmity, bitterness, 
and strife. 

Ruskin said: "There is no music in a rest, but 
there's the making of music in it;" so, too, non- . 
resistance of evil is a rest in which there is the mak- 
ing of that celestial music which is an expression of 
the divine harmony. 

The advantage of harmonious thinking is sci- 
entifically set forth in the Beatitudes. 1 The meek, 
the merciful, they who do hunger and thirst after 
righteousness, and the peacemakers have each dis- 
missed some form of discordant thinking, and they 
are among the blessed. Their blessedness is the 
result of their mental condition. The climax oc- 

1 Matthew v. a- 1 3. 



*HE TEACHING OF JESUS 355 

curs in what he says of the pure in heart, "for they 
shall see God." Purity of heart can only be at- 
tained by the complete exclusion of every impure or 
discordant thought, and they who have attained this ^ 
have already the kingdom of heaven within them, \ 
and God dwells in His kingdom and they shall see / , 
Him. This, too, is strictly scientific. 

His precepts touching forgiveness rest on the same 
basis. The word " forgive " means to let go, to put 
away, to cast out, to send away; and this is the 
meaning not only of the English word, but of the 
Greek word of which it is a translation. The es- j 
sential of forgiveness, then, lies in casting out of the 
mind the wrong or offending thought. He would 
have us always forgive 1 as we would be forgiven. 3 
Each one who earnestly desires forgiveness knows 
that he himself wishes to have the last remembrance 
or thought of the error which he has committed put 
away and blotted out forever from the mind of the 
one whom he has offended; therefore this complete 
casting away of all the discordant thoughts about 
another is the essential constituent element of 
complete forgiveness. It is also required by the 
principles of exact science as well as by the words 
of Jesus found in other connections. 

1 Matthew xviii. 21, 23. * Matthew vi. 12. 



356 EIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

This leads to a consideration of the Golden Rule, 
"As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also 
to them likewise," * a precept which includes within 
its terms all his ethical teaching. Down in the | 
heart of every human being is the desire not only 
to be exempt from physical injury by others, but also 
from their evil or erroneous thoughts as well. If 
each one should avoid discordant thinking about all 
others as he would have others avoid it about him- 
self, it would terminate all discordant or erroneous 
thinking of every kind, and therefore all discordant 
conduct would be ended. There would not be any 
evil in the world, and its banishment would be 
accomplished without any resistance whatever ; 
indeed, resistance of evil prevents forgiveness, 
perpetuates evil, and frustrates the grand object 
sought, which is its destruction. This is again 
the application of exact science to questions of 
morality. 

When the lawyer asked Jesus which is the great- 
est requirement of the law, he answered: "Thou \ 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with 
all thy strength." 2 God is absolute perfection. 
When a man loves perfection with all his heart, and 

1 Lake vi. 31. 2 Mark xiL 30. 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 357 

soul, and mind, and strength, there will not be 
any place for inharmonious thoughts. God is 
love; and when one loves love with his whole 
being, he will not have any discordant thoughts, 
for in such love and in such loving there is no 
discord. All this means: Fill the mind full with 
love for God, and when the mind is full of this 
love, neither imperfection nor discord can enter, but 
they will be as a dream of the night which was 
never remembered. 

All this finds its culmination in what may appro- 
priately be called the climax of his ethical precepts, 
the one which directs men to the supreme act of 
love: "But I say unto you, Love your enemies." 1 } . 
Love ,1s , perfect harmony. Hate is discord. Be- 
fore one can love his enemies, condemnation, anger, 
hate, desire for revenge, envy, jealousy, covetous- 
ness, and even " righteous indignation" toward them, j j 
must all be utterly cast out of the mind along with 
every other inharmonious thought. The precept 
necessitates this exclusion, because all these are 
, inimical to love and cannot exist in the mind where 
love is, nor can love exist in the mind where these 
discordant thoughts are. Love and hate cannot 
both occupy the same mind at the same time. The 
1 Matthew v. 44-48. 



35$ RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

exclusion of hate is the preparation for love, and 
the entertainment of love is the prohibition of hate; 
hence this precept also stands on a basis which is 
distinctly scientific. 

The language which he used in this connection, 
when stripped of its explanatory illustrations, reads 
thus: 

1. " Love your enemies. 

2. "That ye may be the children of your Father 
in heaven. 

3. "Ye therefore shall be perfect even as your 
Father in heaven is perfect." * 

That love which loves enemies has nothing but 
love for any man. This means the exclusion of 
every discordant thought. The result of this ex- 
clusion will be perfection. Perfection is a dizzy 
height for man to contemplate. The best men have j 
looked toward it, but have not dared to hope for it, 
either for themselves or their fellows, except as the 
result of a miracle ; and the scientists, philosophers, 

1 This is the language of the Revised Version and is almost 
universally admitted to be more nearly the correct translation of 
the original Greek. " Ye shall be perfect " is not a command, 
but is a scientific declaration of what will result from the abandon- 
ment of discordant thinking to such an extent as to enable one to 
love his enemies; i.e. the complete exclusion of all discord from the 
mind. 



THE TEACHING OF JESUS 359 

and best ethical teachers have never dared more 
than to hint at it except as the remotest possibility; 
but Jesus taught it ; science and philosophy confirm 
it ; and each Christian with humbleness of heart can 
look up, take courage, and determine to win it. 
That this can be accomplished has been made plain 
again and again in these pages. We can love our 
enemies only after we have first excluded all discord- 
ant thinking about them; that done, we can truly 
love them; and then we shall show forth that we 
are indeed our Father's children, as perfect as He 
is perfect ; and that is absolute perfection. 

Wonderful as this perfection is, yet every precept 
of Jesus, the Christ, aims at nothing less, and each 
of them if complied with in its completeness will 
bring this result. That he did not require impossi- 
bilities of us is seen in the logical demonstration 
that this seemingly most impossible of all his require- 
ments is possible of attainment. Indeed, each one 
of his precepts which is here considered may be 
fulfilled to its ultimate by following his method 
the exclusion of discordant thinking from the mind. 
Therefore no man need be discouraged by the tre- 
mendousness nor by the sublimity and glory of the 
object. Each may say with supreme confidence 
and humility: "I, too, can master my own mind." 



360 RIGHT AND WRONG THINKING 

No man is working alone, for God Himself works 
always with him who is seeking the right. 

"Ye therefore shall be perfect, even as your 
Father in heaven is perfect." 



XLV 

A LAST WORD 

THERE is no more fitting counsel for the close of 
this book than is contained in the following words 
from The School of Life, by William R. Alger : 

"And now there is one more lesson for us to 
learn, the climax of all the rest; namely, to make a 
personal application to ourselves of everything which 
we know. Unless we master this lesson, and act 
on it, the other lessons are virtually useless, and 
thus robbed of their essential glory. The only liv- 
ing end or aim of everything we experience, of every 
truth we are taught, is the practical use we make 
of it for the enrichment of the soul, the attuning of 
the thoughts and passions, the exaltation of life. . . . 
When we do what we know, then first ctoes it put 
on vital lustre and become divinely precious." 




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